Venue: The Lowry
Where: Salford


Small Things community interest company have taken the real life story of reclusive artist Joash Woodrow and turned it into a piece of theatre.

They try hard to create a vibrant and interesting piece but are ultimately let down by both the monotone nature of the writing and the lack of events in Woodrow's life. Liz Postlethwaite has stuck closely to the life of the recluse but the majority of the play seems to be done as a narration and you never see a character long enough (apart from Woodrow himself) to either gain any empathy for or connection to their role. Instead the actors will suddenly move from narration to character and back to narration, which left me feeling desperate for them to stay in character for an entire scene.

The four young actors, Lowri Evans, Niven Ganner, Ryan Greaves and Ben Moores work very hard to convince us of the characters they play, but while changing a coat or a prop gives a visual tag there is not enough difference in the given characters for there to be an emotional change.

Niven Ganner does a fine job as Joash Woodrow but even he fails to find enough in the written role to allow the audience to develop a compassion for the man.

Postlethwaite's direction is tight and neatly done, but because the piece is too slavish, she fails to raise the running of the play to anything more than pedestrian. This is a worthy attempt to tell the history of a modern day artist but ultimately it falls as flat as one of Joash Woodrow's canvases.

- Helen Jones