Channel 9, Kevin Crease Studio, Fri 12 Jun
There’s often a confessional aspect to Cabaret, and MYRIAD has this in spades. Only, rather than some sexual fetish and burlesque fantasy, the subject is far more down the earth; a reflection upon Hannah Bennett’s experiences of mental ill health (the highs and lows). While Hannah is ably supported by piano (rather than as the website suggested, her band) and the technical aspects of lighting and other effects, it is a one woman show. Given the 1 hour 20 minutes of the show, for which Hannah is speaking, or singing – it’s a mighty effort.
The nature of the material is personal and rather intimate, so to have the gumption to get up and do this is commendable (and in stark contrast to the opening scene) where Hannah struggles to even get out of bed and can’t be arsed putting on her pants. Yes, you’ll laugh along with her, and find yourself wondering about the experiences that some of us have, the self loathing, dark thoughts, the resilience and the strength.
The setting, a single bed in the centre of a ‘beach’ of sand is quite effective and versatile for the purposes of this show. The central lighting is often subtly changing, adding interest to the performance, but it was the lighting under the bed that I found most interesting, in parts creating the moving shadows as if the days were quickly passing.
Hannah’s presence was captivating, even as she took us to some hard places. This one-woman show is a voice for those people living with mental illness but it also does a lot to reduce the stigma and bring the audience closer together in understanding. We were expertly taken on an emotional roller coaster and left grateful for the experience.
MYRIAD continues at Channel 9, Kevin Crease Studio, at various times until Sat 20 Jun.
Book at CabFringe on 08 8243 0001 and cabaretfringefestival.com. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.