Monday, 9 November 2009

To Have or Not To Have - The Little Angel Theatre

To Have or Not To Have
By TamTam
Reviewer: Honour Bayes

A pair of pliers and a mole trap are fighting on a table top desert in toy castles. Put like that To Have or Not To Have all sounds rather childish but actually it’s incredibly poignant and beautiful. Set within an elegant soundscape which flies from Texas sunrises to Arabian nights, their battle begins to feel epic and the philosophy of this rusty parable about greed and jealousy shines out.

Gerard Schiphorst and Marije van der Sande manipulate their objects with infinite care and not a little tenderness in performances which are both heart warming and wryly funny. This experienced couple’s sharp wit and down to earth frankness permeates this piece, never allowing it to fall into quaint cliché or cutesy simplicity. Utilising the simplest movements and noises, van der Sande’s bird impression is quite extraordinary, a myriad of weird and wonderful creatures emerges and you find that loyalties are unexpectedly formed with inanimate objects.

In keeping with the ethos of their show the set, costume and lights are as simple as possible with the only bit of sophisticated technology being Schiphorst’s recorded and ever present sound track. Made lovingly from instruments and the objects themselves it is at once childlike and sophisticated, evoking a post apocalyptic industrial world in an organically melodic fashion which lends the whole thing a strange feeling of fairytale otherworldliness.

To Have or Not To Have may be created out of nothing but old bits of wood, metal and sand but Schiphorst and van der Sande have imbued these objects with personality and charm. Performed with an inherent integrity, sharp wit and a slight sense of ruthless perfectionism this show has a deceiving simplicity that belies an immense amount of skill and inventiveness that will delight all ages and even the hardest of hearts.
To Have or Not To Have was Part of the 2009 Suspense Festival
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