Monday 17 May 2021

THEATRE REVIEW: Let Me Count The Ways - (Turn ON Fest 2021) - Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester.

Let Me Count The Ways by Maz Hedgehog (a part of TURN ON Fest 2021) is an honest, sometimes too raw piece made up of several poems about queer love, existence, and self-acceptance.

As an online viewer, the first thing you see of Let Me Count The Ways is the main character, our hero for the next hour, Maz Hedgehog struggling to type something on her iPad. While there’s no mention of the pandemic, it feels very true to the moment, especially as Hedgehog fights through her task. Admittedly, it was hard to watch, but perhaps that’s because we’ve been living in this solitary, work-from-home world for too long. Although abrupt, the beginning sets the tone for the piece. The remainder of the show is at times uncomfortable and a bit too raw, but genuine and bewitchingly beautiful at others.

Accompanying the beautiful poetry in the show was hypnotizing music by Alpha Twang. It made the piece feel otherworldly at times and helped underscore various themes that the poetry explored. The simple direction of Faye Draper also felt very appropriate for the piece. With a stage littered with personal affairs, Draper’s direction felt dance-like at times, with Hedgehog careful not to trip over or break the tens of wine and beer bottles that decorated her living space.

There are so many great lines in this piece, that it’s difficult to choose just one, but a few lines that stood out and that give a flavour of the piece are:

“It’s ok, the sea doesn’t mind, so long as I dance with her sometimes and pick the plastic out of her hair.”

“Maybe he’ll make a hammock between his knees and allow me to rest awhile.”

“I am fat, so I am pretty. I am dark-skinned, so I am pretty.”

If this is what post-pandemic theatre will be like — a celebration of queer love and fat acceptance, then we certainly have a bright future ahead.

Reviewer - Rebecca Tessier
on - 15/5/21

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