String, Styrofoam, and a very large cardboard box – this is a show like no other. An original production devised and performed by ‘AndOn Theatre’s Joshua Mathieson and Ray Hunwicks, 'Bits and Box' lifts the lid on two young men’s vivacious imaginations as they while away the hours together by playing make-believe with no more than what the show’s title dictates. The absence of costumes, lighting, set and even music make this a distinctly unconventional piece, inspiring our two protagonists to develop a seemingly endless range of worlds, characters and story arcs through the power of make-believe…and not much else. At a runtime of just fifty minutes, one cannot help but question whether a play based around packing materials will really be worth their time.
its and Box is a triumph of theatrical innovation that will have you crying one moment and laughing the next.
Three seconds into the performance, Mathieson and Hunwicks have answered that question indisputably. For a showcase of sheer talent alone, Bits and Box is a must-see. Impossible to predict and exhilarating to watch, Mathieson and Hunwicks bounce off each other with the ease of any acclaimed theatrical partnership from throughout history. Together, the pair take the play’s essentially simplistic concept of two bored men lapsing into a game of ‘let’s pretend’ – and turn it into one of the most original, inventive and enjoyable pieces of theatre I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.
That is not to say that Bits and Box is entirely without fault. The protagonists’ incentive for unraveling their playful fantasies receives little explanation, whilst Mathieson’s character’s real-life conflict suffers from an underdeveloped feel. Nonetheless, these are small knots in the string of otherwise engaging story arcs that this show is built on.
The show’s iconic cardboard box deserves full marks for a superb performance as everything from a television news desk reporting on Barrack Obama (created by turning itself sideways and folding down one upper flap) to a Scottish raft on a rescue mission for a flip-flop (produced by flattening itself completely, with the aid of a length of string). The show’s limitless possibilities are fully utilized by Mathieson and Hunwicks side-splittingly hilarious yet heartwarmingly poignant script, which still somehow finds time to parody everything from Harry Potter to Les Miserables before packing up.
Bits and Box is a triumph of theatrical innovation that will have you crying one moment and laughing the next. A true delight from beginning to end, Andon Theatre’s latest production is one-of-a-kind – and, best of all, never fails to think outside the box.