Each of Us (Salford)
Each of Us is a gloriously off-centre look at relationships and the things that connect people. In a world like, but significantly different from, ours; a nameless narrator (Ben Moor, who also wrote the play) looks back on the end of his marriage and the things he has learnt from chance encounters with old and new friends and reaches an inescapable conclusion.
Although there are plenty of laughs the play is funny peculiar rather than funny ha-ha. But Moor constructs his version of reality so meticulously that, rather than sit in cool analysis, you are drawn into his world intrigued to find out more.
This is a place in which dogs are trained to detect angst and react accordingly; ‘Gravity's Rainbow' is a child's colouring book and the narrator works as a Corporate Thwart – designing strategies that cause institutional incompetence. When one of his designs seems to plot the way to the human soul he is fired for gross competence.
The play is so dense and the dazzling wordplay such a pleasure that the announcement the text is to be published in book form is welcome – it will enable us to appreciate such gems as ‘Jack Frost was followed by John Thaw' and that the British Euphemism Board is itself a euphemism.
Yet the way the text is presented makes sure that it works very well as a public production rather than a private read.
Director Erica Whyman uses the intimate studio space to help make the show work on stage. Moor addresses the audience direct making constant eye contact and his strange vulnerability ensures this is engaging rather than threatening or embarrassing. Dressed in jeans and a suit waistcoat Moor brings out the eccentricity of the world he vividly describes while his bare feet emphasises his humanity.
Moor's background in comedy is apparent in the quality of the script but his performance and compassion for the characters he describes ensures there is no sense of him developing a stand-up act rather than presenting a play.
Ben Moor uses the best aspects of his comic skill with wordplay and description to create a charming and gentle piece that is surprisingly moving.
- Dave Cunningham