What happens to the hope at the end of the evening

Tim Crouch & Andy Smith
Live at LICA, Lancaster University

Tim Crouch and Andy Smith in What happens... Credit: Katherine Leedale

Theatre maker Tim Crouch delights in confounding any notions of what makes a stage performance.

With his friend Andy Smith, a PhD theatre student at Lancaster and fellow traveller on his odyssey, he returned to the campus for this performance of their latest collaboration.

It might be better and more briefly titled You and Me, except that’s been used. Instead it uses the lost soul classic of the same name, by Penny and The Quarters, as the centrepiece of a story about two friends meeting up again after some time apart.

What happens... is that a void has opened up between their lives and in their relationship.

That gulf is exaggerated since Smith reads the script for their encounter, seated, while Crouch performs his role with that quietly mesmerising physical ability that always hallmarks his performances. Being static, or frantic, also describes their respective characters.

But this is more than the distance between friends and You and Me—in the audience—become intimately engaged in a wider dialogue about our expectation of theatre.

The production challenges notions of what it is to be a theatregoer, by maybe inviting them to meet and greet those around them, even take off their shoes and relax—surely a contradiction in terms for many playgoers?

Throughout the performance, the stage and house lights stay up, adding illumination to thoughts on morality, manners, even a Mayan age of isolation, as well as further blurring the distinction between stage and auditorium.

It may sound pretentious, but it works as a startling and moving piece of miniature theatre.

Near me, one of those new-found friends in the audience sobbed openly.

This was truly theatre as a space in which to sit and think; an astonishing 60 minutes of performance.

Reviewer: David Upton

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