The Human Ear

Alexandra Wood

Paines Plough

Brewery Arts Centre

From 30 September 2015 to 04 October 2015

Review by Denis W McGeary

The human ear is unique—did you know that? Each ear is as individual as a fingerprint.

Paines Plough has brought a unique play to Kendal as part of its Roundabout tour. We walked round to the old bowling green at Abbot Hall and there was a wonderful pop-up theatre, a couple of yurts and a queue waiting to enter.

An intimate theatre-in-the-round, a theatre for Hobbits to feel at home in, a modern day Century Theatre designed to tour the country and fit into almost any space.

The Human Ear is an intense piece performed by two actors, Sian Reese-Williams and Abdul Solis, no interval, straight through, close, intimate, emotional and disturbing.

It deals with the relationship between a brother and sister and the sister’s boyfriend. Lucy has stayed at the family home, Jason left after an argument. The father died a violent death years ago; the mother had been killed recently.

The sharp dialogue snaps between Lucy and Jason. They snap backwards and forwards in time; the lighting, designed by Emma Chapman, snaps from cold to warm as the words and recollections of words snap between Lucy, Jason and boyfriend Ed. This really held the audience; we didn’t dare fidget or look around, we were afraid to miss a word, a nuance, a glance—a snap.

Where does the human ear come in? Let Lucy tell you.

There are so many influences in The Human Ear but this is a superb piece of theatre that stands up by itself by writer Alexandra Wood with tight direction by George Perrin. Not to be missed.