Brighton Fringe Festival: Small Space
Small Space was not set in Gala Bingo Car Park at all. A fact that was rather confusing on first arrival when the reception had no knowledge of any fringe performance, but we were soon met by a clipboard waving steward and led the short walk to the real venue; a beautiful, Georgian, three storey terrace. (They have since updated the website to avoid further confusion).
This intimate setting – sitting in the family dining room on an assortment of chairs, no doubt borrowed from around the house – would have been the perfect place to explore the themes of marital intimacy that the write up indicated the performance was to be about. If only it had been ‘a play on intimacy as real as life’.
Unfortunately it was not and the eccentrically furnished kitchen – think all open cupboards, a glass fronted fridge like the chiller cabinet at a supermarket, an old fashioned shop counter as the main kitchen worktop and an anaesthetists table used as a stand for an overflowing fruit bowl – proved rather distracting.
In truth, after only a very short time, I was much more interested in the real owners of the house (Flora and Milo apparently) than the acted owners (Dan and Jane played coincidentally by Dan and Jane) and the decor proved a welcome distraction from the use of hand-puppet monkeys and bizarre dance interludes. This was the perfect opportunity for an imagined real-time insight into a couples’ life but instead the constructed, non-naturalistic piece completely missed the mark. In the end the house stole the show. Luckily it was worth seeing for itself.