Reviewed by Jess D’Ath
It was a nice surprise to walk into a fringe show and see a set. A whole set with a backdrop and everything! I must admit to getting quite excited upon seeing it, and also quite excited to see that this play featured original music and songs, which I must be honest, is totally my thing! Hands featured two people on stage and one off stage, and each of these three people, were part of the one person, our protagonist “the girl”, who was also referred to as Aimee. At least I think they were, I have to admit that at times I was a little lost as to what was happening, and even more often, why it was happening, and wondered if perhaps I was just uneducated, or perhaps to into mainstream theatre to really grasp the subtleties of what was happening.
The girl had eczema on her hands, which got progressively worse during the show. She went to work sometimes, and visited people at other times, but I wasn’t sure why. There was a haunted lamp which ventured out at night times and just wanted to see outside, a plant which required looking after, and what I can only imagine was a nightmare sequence which seemed to suggest that perhaps the eczema was in fact stigmata….but again, I never quite figured out why.
That said, despite me having little clue about much of the point if the show, I really loved the music. The onstage pianist, Matty, absolutely nailed it; providing not only the whole soundtrack to the show while being very funny in his own quirky way and playing a masked demon with much melodrama at intervals throughout. I do think this show struggled a bit in knowing exactly what it was. Was it a musical? It almost was, and perhaps it should be. It certainly could be with the addition of a few more songs in the second half. Was it a horror? No, but again, it could be. Was it a physical comedy? At times it definitely was, and it was in this (and the music) that the strength of the piece really lay. A little more fine tuning, and maybe a revisit to the overall vision and purpose of the show is needed, for what, at this point, is a very promising, and exciting piece.
Hands is part of the 2018 Nelson Fringe Festival. To check out other shows and workshops, click here.