Hunch

Hunch, one of two productions from DugOut Theatre this festival (along with Songlines at the Pleasance Courtyard) continues the company’s new approach of single-person storytelling with personal but universally accessible narratives. Following on from last festival’s effort, Replay, Hunch takes this mode and soars. The result is an immensely captivating story and a wonderfully whimsical world.

An immensely captivating story and a wonderfully whimsical world.

Hunch is the story of a young woman, Una, and her journey to become the titular superhero of the tale, armed with the power of making gut decisions for others. One by one she answers the summons of the citizens of ‘Hum’ and makes their decisions for them all while dealing with her struggles to balance superhero-ing and her personal life; it’s a wonderful and thoughtful upturning of the superhero genre. The production is anchored by a whirlwind performance from Kate Kennedy, who expertly juggles switching between intrinsically detailed characters, creating the world of Hum and demonstrating intensely sharp wit. Every character performed is given equal effort and respect with details such as accents and posture giving the world a sense of magic and vividness while Kennedy navigates their transformations with precision and magnetism.

The play begins in dramatic fashion as we are quickly introduced to Una and thrust into her world. There is an argument to make here that the rush to create an exciting opening is to the detriment of creating a solid foundation for the audience’s understanding of the story - for this is the kind of story that requires a fair bit of attention and listening on the audience’s part to avoid getting lost. Early moments were occasionally not given space to breathe, be fully expressed or taken in by the audience. This said, once the story progresses and the rhythm settles it is increasingly easy to be hooked by Kennedy’s engaging flow. Her performance is perfectly accompanied by a thematically appropriate set recreating a photography studio that makes ingenious use of studio lighting, and audio that helps to provide depth to the tone of the tale.

The subtext undercurrent in Hunch’s exploration of decisions and heroism bubbles steadily and reeks throughout the performance. The piece’s climactic ‘action’ scene feels appropriately grave thanks to a skilful and exciting performance and is added to by an intriguing antagonist; this, however, doesn’t prevent a simplistic resolution to the action. This said, the ending does eventually tie together many of the play’s threads nicely. Una’s story is sure to linger in your mind long after you leave the theatre - perhaps more than you thought it might at first - not least due to the allegorical twist that fantastically brings the heart of the piece straight down to earth. Hunch would be a win purely for its powerful performance from Kennedy and precise direction by Sara Joyce, however the story (painstakingly crafted by Kennedy herself) propels the piece up, up and away.

Reviews by Jet Graham

Pleasance Courtyard

The Wild Unfeeling World

★★★★
Heroes @ Bob's BlundaBus

Imaan Hadchiti: Being Frank

★★★★
Just the Tonic at The Grassmarket Centre

Matt Hoss: Here Comes Your Man

★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Tess

★★★
Pleasance Dome

21 Futures by Olly Hawes

★★
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

Not Quite

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Meet Hunch. The Superhero. Coming to the rescue when you've splinters on your arse from sitting on the fence. Making decisions to save the lives of others, she must start calling the shots to save her own. Hunch is a new dark comedy about the power of gut decisions, written and performed by Kate Kennedy (BBC One's Midsummer Night's Dream and Channel 4's Catastrophe), produced by DugOut Theatre (Replay, Swansong, The Sunset Five and Inheritance Blues). 'In Kennedy you get someone with incredible comic prowess... she's just breathlessly good' (Time Out). 'Kennedy has an exquisite gift for comedy' (Metro).

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