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Hugh Hughes - Stories From An Invisible Town (Plymouth)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Hoipolloi Theatre artistic director Shon Dale-Jones’s alter ego Hugh Hughes is back on tour with his gentle, engaging story-telling in Stories From An Invisible Town.

This time Hugh has help from his feuding brother and sister as their Mam moves from their childhood home provoking a rich tapestry of memories.

A somewhat obsessive Hugh is suffering from memory overload as everything from the orange polish in the hall to the clock tower of death prods his subconscious into wanting to recreate a jigsaw of family life.

Film – from the slick productions of the now through shaky super-8 to grainy cine film of the then (plus a couple of useful diagrams) – is used to capture the past and moments in the present as the siblings war and worry, fight and mediate breaking up the intimate style of actors speaking directly to the audience or replaying telephone conversations.

Somewhat more introspective and thought-provoking than 360 or Floating, this is still an amusing (rather than laugh out loud) slightly too-long evening with the charismatic Welshman toying with emotions, creating highs and lows, and deftly changing the pace.

Dale-Jones is as superb as ever, Sophie Russell feisty and vulnerable as Delyth Pritchard (nee Hughes) and Andrew Pembrooke dour and distracted as brother Derwyn. All very believable.

Tom Cotterill presses the buttons for the technical bits while Dante Rendle Traynor competently provides the live music.

An on-point glimpse of family life and the relationships that wax and wane within that structure.


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