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Review: Sh!t Theatre / Or What's Left of Us

Sh!t Theatre – or what’s left of them, as they tell us in the title of this work in progress - are in the audience when we enter. Two women dressed as trees gather sign-ups for their post-show sing-a-long in a nearby pub. And so, from the off, it’s clear that we, the audience, have a unique part to play. With an opening song that has the feeling of a sea shanty – all off-kilter, lilting harmonies – we are lulled into Louise and Rebecca’s ‘folk revival stage’. This, they explain, is a time of change and great turmoil. But, never fear, it’s not all darkness and sorrow (although that features too). This piece is a constant balancing act. Reflective folk songs mixed with storytelling chat. Jokes interspliced between intense grief sound effects from folk-horror film ‘Midsommar’. The audience are warmly encouraged to sing along with any songs we know, and any we don’t too.

In less competent hands this could be a recipe for disaster but Sh!t Theatre have the relaxed confidence of performers who know exactly how to create a rapport which soon has the whole crowd crooning. However, with the passing of each ballad, it becomes clear that there is more at stake here than at first glance. The painful, but beautifully poignant, final dialogue shares a deeply personal experience of grief. And here, all rules are abandoned. The ending, like grief itself, is unpredictable, messy, raw. The show gently probes with questions that resonate long after the final chord – how much of ourselves needs to remain for it to be ‘us’? And, most simply of all, ‘You ok?’ - to which the answer comes: ‘No’.

If this talented duo decide to keep asking those questions and develop this into a full-length show, I’ll be the first in the front row, tankard in hand.

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