Everything Must Go

Written and performed by Kristin Fredricksson
Beady Eye
Barbican Pit
(2010)

Biographical theatre can often be boring; a single narrator simply recounting episodes of someone's life. Kristin Fredricksson's latest piece is anything but, as in sixty minutes she carefully and caringly introduces us to her father in a piece of amusing and touching theatre.

From the set alone it is easy to see that her father, Karl, had an affinity with sport: a trampoline is positioned downstage left, a running track laid out as if a house plan, a hurdle centre stage. Effortlessly Fredricksson weaves the story of her father's life in and out of these objects, which themselves are vital to her creative storytelling.

A sailor's hat becomes a Swedish ship's captain, a pregnant belly bump, and then a newborn baby itself as we begin to learn how her father came to be. Fredricksson demonstrates the power of imagination in the theatre and it is as if she has magic hands, bringing the cluttered objects onstage to life. The manipulation of her miniature puppet father is captivating as she breathes life into the inanimate object and creates a character who the audience really feel for.

One cannot help but get emotionally involved in the piece. Fredricksson's father died in 2009, and as projected image after picture and cardboard cut out are woven together, it becomes clear that this is a very personal performance. We share in Fredricksson's father's eccentric life as she brings together a mosaic of wonderful memories of a remarkable man. We learn that not only did he suffer the wrath of his head teacher after reading Pinter in place of the Bible at a school assembly, but that, amazingly, at 72 he could still do the splits.

Fredricksson has inherited much from her father. Both are wonderful comic actors who use facial expression and posture to create a myriad of colourful characters. Everything Must Go clearly illustrates that some things are inherently funny; men dressed up as women, certain walks and voices, and lines such as 'I feel like a virgin with a wooden leg' will always get a laugh no matter what.

This piece of biographical theatre is a demonstration of father and daughter love. Having been previously performed with her father before he passed away, the piece is now a celebration of his life and a tribute to all he achieved. It must be extremely emotional for Fredricksson to perform the piece without her father, knowing that at one time the show concluded with him on stage too. Now it finishes with video footage of that very moment and his ghostly presence means that he has become immortalised in the piece forever: he is the production and the production is him.

Everything Must Go is a patchwork quilt of life sewn together by Fredricksson's heart-warming narrative. Audience members really engaged with the piece on Press Night and felt honoured to be able to share such a personal piece of theatre, awarding it the highest attribute possible - a standing ovation - not only to celebrate Fredricksson's performance, but also in recognition of her late father's life.

Playing until 26th June 2010

Simon Sladen