‘You are on an island. And it is sinking. It is not a metaphor, nor is it a dream. It is the end. But how can you drown, when you haven’t a place to lay your bones? And when you don’t know where it is, how can anyone bring you home?’
If you are willing to completely immerse yourself in an emotional and imaginatively crafted piece of fringe theatre, ‘A Place To Fall To Pieces’ is highly deserving of viewing consideration.
Isobel and Anna Hughes are a remarkably talented duo and have succeeded in creating a masterful love letter ‘to the places we have been, but never been from.’ It evokes the feeling of hiraeth – ‘a deep longing for something, especially one’s home,’ but cannot necessarily return to. A Celtic, specifically Welsh word, it is the perfect summarisation of the nautical and natural fables created by both Isobel and Anna as they transport the viewer to a place never before conceived but somehow familiar.
Isobel possesses the remarkable talent to tell a thousand little stories with her facial expressions alone. The performance continually reminds the audience that their faces are the map of all the places they have been before. They are a mark of your experiences, which ultimately question whether you are restless or if it is that you cannot rest. Full use is made of Erin Fleming’s purposefully minimal set design, and no object goes forgotten by Isobel – not the lone feather, not the rocks you perhaps thought were merely set dressing.
Though physically in the background, Anna is a mastermind of sound production. She consistently supplements Isobel’s acting in the forefront with both her ethereal vocals and her ingenious use of the fiddle, bowing and plucking to perfection. Many a melody feel reminiscent of the music of Celtic Woman. The beautifully ornamented simple motifs allow one to imagine themselves upon a bench near a peaceful shore.
The Space, located on the Isle of Dogs, provides the perfect setting for this production. Formerly St. Paul’s Church, it reopened in 1996 as a performance space funded by the likes of Sir Ian McKellen and Marie McLaughlin. Steeped in over a century of history, one finds themselves entranced for the entire hour, wondering what the spirits of the past may think of these new fables, too.
It is a feeling that unable to be expressed without viewing, as all will leave finding themselves contemplating something different, and something perhaps not considered before. ‘A Place To Fall To Pieces’ most certainly has the potential to blossom into the likes of something of the folklore it so delicately paints.
‘A Place To Fall To Pieces’ played at The Space between April 28th and April 30th before continuing on to Newcastle and Bristol.