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Let There Be Thistles

dusty bums productions · Ages 12+ · one person show · New Zealand

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Review by GRAYDON SCHLICHTER

June 19, 2018 certified reviewer

What I liked

Mr. Thomas brings a frenetic energy and wild-eyed desperation to his performance that is always present, but often hiding beneath the surface. With the confidence of showman past his prime, the portrayal of our unnamed protagonist draws us in, assuring us in quavering tones, what was, what is, and most importantly WHAT WILL BE! There is a brief divergence that is marvelous work by Mr. Thomas, but I shan’t say anything more for fear of spoilers.

Meanwhile Ms. Lock’s hand is both invisible and unmissable here. One-person shows can be unwieldy, doubly so when the performer and playwright share a single body. But Ms. Lock keeps us anchored, as Mr. Thomas never appears out of control, or over the top. Considering the high stakes, and the nature of the material, even the most disciplined performer may have been been tempted to go a little bit overboard. But the artistic collaboration of these two nails the balance and delivers.

And the lamp. I simply loved the lamp.

What I didn't like

The tall person sitting in front me. In these intimate spaces sight lines can be challenging and chose unwisely.

My overall impression

Marvelous, delightful and poignant. The fear of mortality addressed indirectly from the unlikeliest of perspectives. Visceral and real, the character’s journey at turns comedic, and desperate. There was never a moment I wasn’t anxious to witness his struggle. And there is always the wondering, the questioning, will now be the moment?

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