The One That Doesn’t Speak: Silent But Deadly
  • By Pete Shaw
  • |
  • 17th Aug 2010
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Kicking off BBC Radio 1’s series of four one-off, one-man shows by Scott Mills, Nick Grimshaw and the team at this year’s festival, The One Who Doesn’t Speak presented an eclectic presentation of mime, audience participation and canned audio clips. This really shouldn’t have worked, and with anyone else on stage, in front of any other audience, it would have been like watching the accounts department do their turn at the office Christmas party; but with this home crowd and with the array of recognisable names off the radio, it was chaotic brilliance. Introduced, and occasionally including, Scott Mills, The One Who Doesn’t Speak (TOWDS) had something of a challenge ahead to hold together a whole show without uttering a word. He managed this through wild gestures and the aid of clips from songs such as Lionel Richie’s ‘Hello’ and Eminem’s ‘My Name Is’. It was clear from the start that this wasn’t going to be a ‘one-man’ show, and TOWDS was more a ringmaster of people dragged up on stage to don odd costumes and participate in skits. Scott Mills dressed up in a policeman’s uniform, Becky as Freddie Mercury and boss Rob was put into – well, I’m not sure what that was, but it involved him then being beaten with a toy light sabre by a 9 year old, so I’m guessing it was probably Jar Jar Binks. And therefore the beating was deserved. Just when you thought this show couldn’t get any more bizarre, TOWDS – via the medium of pre-recorded voiceover – welcomed KT Tunstall on stage. Tunstall had brought props – in the form of telekinetic transmitting and receiving equipment fashioned from Bacofoil – so she’d be able to channel TOWDS’s thoughts. Yes. So, TOWDS is wearing a large pointy tinfoil hat, and KT Tunstall is standing next to him with a snake of more tinfoil wrapped around her neck. There is no admission price anywhere that would buy you this scene at any other event than a Radio 1 show like this.Tunstall masterfully helped TOWDS wrap up the show using her trademarked construction of layered guitar and vocals – even getting rarely-heard sound out of the silent one as part of the beat-boxing track for her performance of ‘(Still A) Weirdo’. The crowd adored every moment of this unorthodox spectacle, and that really is the point. Much like Scott Mills The Musical last year, The Radio 1 team are doing this for their listeners, not to compete on the Fringe. A rating is probably redundant, but for the audience tonight it was worth five stars all the way.

Reviews by Pete Shaw

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The Blurb

Expect the unexpected
How will the show's mysterious and silent producer, The One That  Doesnt Speak, entertain an audience without, er, speaking?
We're promised music, mime, audience participation, and quite a few surprises!

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