It’s clear that Florence Leon is a performer with passion, but you need a little more than that to pull off a solo show. The fairly full house was clearly a mix of Leon’s supporters and people not connected with the show who’ve taken a chance on what they had read in the Fringe Programme. I hung around afterwards to listen to the audience reactions to make sure I wasn’t being unfair and I’m afraid I most certainly wasn’t.
This is an intense one-woman show. It’s a very physical piece and Leon’s physical skill does shine through. Leon jumps around from one side of the stage to the other assuming the role of different characters that interact with the main character, Ella. Ella seems to be trapped in a waiting room, unable to fill in a form and surrounded by shoddy stereotypes – a gigolo, an unhelpful receptionist, an old man who still talks about the war, a child playing with a toy train and an overprotective crying Mother. These characters are all one-dimensional and, despite Leon’s clear use of physicality, their characterised voices grated.
Throughout the piece two very proficient musicians provide a soundtrack of tension, drama and comedy. It was difficult to hear everything Leon was saying as the annunciation and articulation left a little to be desired, leaving me perplexed, having lost a good chunk of the script. After an hour and fifteen minutes (a little too long, frankly) there was a great deal of shuffling around and it was over. There was confusion from all; we didn’t know whether to clap. Had it finished?
In Leon’s biography it states she trained in Chile and that she’s off on tour to South Korea. Perhaps this mime show would be better suited in both places and the big stereotypical characters will sit well in outdoor commedia dell’ Arte. Unfortunately there is certainly no subtly here, but if you are into slapstick comedy and clowning with an intense (if quiet) storyline then perhaps this is the show for you.