Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsa
Edward Fortes & Hannah Slimmon for Farnham Maltings
Battersea Arts Centre
One is a show that will either completely baffle or completely resonate.
Easing the audience into their performative bubble, the show begins with Nasi perched on top of a ladder solemnly playing “I Like It Like That” through his iPhone and occasionally moving to the beat. After some time, Bert joins the action, initially staring, then dancing and eventually taking the stage over for himself. Or at least that’s how it appears.
This is a show about a battle of wills, one-upmanship and the boundaries of friendship. Its form is fragmented, often bewildering and occasionally uncomfortable. Seemingly improvised, the two performers navigate an almost entirely empty stage chatting to the audience and competing for attention.
Nasi is stiff, awkward and deadpan, appealing to the audience’s better judgement without emotionally connecting with them. In contrast, Bert uses every trick from charm, through to song and emotional outbursts (reminiscent of toddler tantrums) and even some tap dancing.
Words are repeated until they lose their meaning and physical contact is gained and lost until Nasi snaps and asks, “is this it?” His frustration and confusion at the unravelling situation mirroring so many people in the real world.
Ultimately we are offered an ending, one that is suitably theatrical, absurd and multilayered. It doesn’t answer any questions but brings the show to a conclusion that allows for a traditional bow.
Intriguing, engrossing and bemusing One is a show once seen never forgotten.
Reviewer: Amy Yorston