The Hope theatre – until 6 November 2021
Reviewed by Emily Cliff
Film, television and art rarely capture an honest, authentic sense of life. But an honest question to ask is what do we see when we are nearing the end of that road; of that path? When we are fully content, sitting in our rocking chairs or comfy armchairs with little lace frills on them. Spontaneously deciding to go for a day out, or to bake a pie or a cake because the working life is far behind you. Many of us wish, and long to see what life would be like if we just skip ahead to the good parts, we often forget the journey along the way. And when we get old the journey is the thing we will look back on with an immense sense of longing, just wishing the clock could rewind just a little so you can relive those things again.
Unlike anything I ever expected, Skin Tight delivered an authentic sense of life and belonging. After the past 18 months, everyone knows, if they didn’t before, that life isn’t just one breezy dream ride: it’s tough and that’s what makes it beautiful. Skin Tight captures and highlights the ups and downs of life in a way I haven’t seen before. The physical approach of the theatre was confusing at the beginning, however, at the end, it bought shone a poetic light on the story that was told.
This play is based on the poem The Magpies by Dennis Glover and writer Gary Henderson bought its raw beauty and brutal honesty to light in the most magnificent way. Elizabeth (played by Louise Hoare) radiated effortless beauty in the way she spoke and reminisced on ‘the good old days.’ Giving us a brief insight into what married life is like, and showing how you can dedicate your whole life to someone feeling nothing but love and appreciation. Tom (played by Adam Slynn) is obliviously unaware of the complexities behind the memories, but he ow so desperately wants to hold onto them forever, mimicking the outcome of the original poem by Dennis Glenn.
The performance and the storytelling were both flawless enough that I could bypass the occasional slip up in the New Zealand accent. However the physical drama and acting at the beginning of the play was not needed, or it could have been done differently. While I like the unexpected I feel this aspect of the production set up the beautiful stories and tales of line in the wrong way.
Overall this play was deeply emotional, raw and authentic in its way of unapologetically telling the stories of life. As I said at the beginning I have never seen a story like this gets told in such a way, and I doubt I will again