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Poignant Hilarity

Southwark News
Date published
Thursday 11 April 2013
Susan Hallissey

WOW! HOW many ways can I find to tell you that I absolutely loved this piece of theatre? I guess I will just have to give it a go...

I've not been to the Blue Elephant Theatre before but if this production is anything to go by I hope to become a regular! The venue itself is tucked away in Camberwell like a lost gem. The staff are friendly and I sensed a passion for the work created here. Jimmy in the bar deserves a mention for his smile and attention!

Roger Simeon's You and Me is physical theatre in its most delicious sense. Music, dance, and expression beautifully crafted by Patricia Rodriguez and Merce Ribot. The energy of this duo did not diminish and they cleverly enticed us into their world. This was the sad and touching dwelling of bathos. It only took moments to believe that the two young actors were in fact two elderly Spanish sisters, bound together by age, history and life.

The dialogue moved swiftly from absurd conversations of death-'Life is a very tiring activity'-to what to wear when one dies (A red or green dress? Green brings out my eyes), to the issue of laziness, how shoes are made and so much more. This production never allows you to become bored and the coffin scene, amongst others, is brilliantly choreographed. Surrounded by brown cardboard boxes there is also the conversation of words versus numbers...Ingenious!

As I laughed my way through this couple's eccentric behaviour I was aware of something more poignant lurking beneath hilarity. These sisters were lost and isolated and as one looked after the other we felt the anguish and frustration that bound them: who really needed who?

You and me is basically a story of human emotions and lost lives, told in such a way that you will want to jump for joy one moment and cry with remorse the next. This is due in part to the skilful writing, the inspired directing and perfect timing and acting of Rodriguez and Ribot. My companion giggled then wept at the end-she had never seen physical theatre and was totally immersed and converted. Physical theatre can be misconstrued as slapstick or farce, this piece proves that the addition of imaginative movements, music and dance we can be transported to a magical, enchanting landscape with tender moments.