What keeps a couple together and what breaks them apart are two questions endlessly revisited by artists. Each answer is as unique as the couple involved. Single Shoe Productions offers an original and charming iteration of the age-old conundrum in their physical theatre work-in-progress show Crazy Glue.
Single Shoe Productions offers an original and charming iteration of the age-old conundrum in their physical theatre work-in-progress show Crazy Glue.
An unnamed man and woman take the stage. Using mime, clowning, music and jibberish as their only tools, the performers present a couple’s lives to the audience. We witness everything from daily routines to the more important moments: courtship, proposal, marriage, setting up home, holidays, preparing for a baby. So far, so Leave it to Beaver. With their big, contented grins, the delightful 1930s soundtrack and cartoonish, slapstick humour, this unnamed pair satirise the domestic bliss to which we unconsciously aspire. When the longed-for baby dies in childbirth, however, the outlook is less rosy as we watch the seemingly perfect relationship disintegrate.
Devisors Filipa Tomas and Bradley Wayne Smith are adept physical performers, conjuring an entire world out of thin air for the audience. They are an excellent pairing, passing movements and sounds between each other with the ease of elite athletes. The story is admirably clear and easy-to-follow despite the fact that the performers utter no real words.
Crazy Glue is based on Israeli writer Etgar Keret’s short-short story of the same name. Keret is known for his juxtaposition of simple, colloquial language and everyday situations, with bizarre happenstances and unexpected twists. The original story has a neat balance of both. The disappointment with Single Shoe’s stage adaptation, at this stage in its development, is that it spends too much time in the literal world and not enough time in the more surreal aspects of Keret’s story. Physical theatre is particularly well-placed to explore these fantastical moments because of its separation from language and rational thought. There are some enjoyable, zany moments near the end of Crazy Glue - for example, the man pulling his partner’s heart out of her chest and frying it up - but this exaggerated style could have been introduced much earlier and pushed much further. The eponymous glue’s metaphorical meaning also needs further clarification, as its current usage throughout the show as both a literal and symbolic prop confuses the show’s ultimate message.
Nevertheless, Crazy Glue is an enjoyable and amusing piece. Its short running time and light touch makes it perfect summer fodder and hopefully after the development period is over, it will have a long performance life.