'Don’t worry – I’m not acting yet,’ explains amiable Chris Thorpe as he warmly welcomes you into the messy office room that serves as this show’s venue, and as poet Hannah Jane Walker hands you a cup of tea. It’s hard to know exactly when the duo do start, so effectively does this piece shift in and out of written texts, storytelling and audience involvement.
Its central theme is the times when we realise we've done something terribly, irrevocably wrong, and how we deal with that realisation. Horribly funny tales about misdirected emails or shouting a wrong partner’s name during sex collide with darker stories of death and loss. Walker’s poetry is vivid and direct, and she performs it strongly, while Thorpe’s avuncular everyman makes you feel at ease to admit your failings.
And admit them you do. Seated around a large table as if in an office meeting, audience members find themselves revealing their own worst moments, or playing the roles of others who have messed things up. It’s all terribly unthreatening – although one particular tale involving a hockey stick may leave you feeling faint.
This is a quietly profound piece, and its central message – that to mess up is human, and should be embraced and learnt from rather than damned – is generously suggested, not forced down your throat.