Words Words Words, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Alex Dowding

Grief is a funny and very human experience, and we all inevitably go through it in one way or another. Writer and performer Lowri Amies here examines her grief around the death of loved ones by diving headfirst into another love – that of Shakespeare.

It’s an interesting idea and not an uncommon one – how often do we find solace in the words of others? In songs, poetry and theatre, we exorcise our emotions through the relatable experience of others.

Presented here as a one-woman show with minimal staging, it’s often difficult to latch onto but not without merit. Amies is clearly a talented wordsmith, and confessing that her favourite text is As You Like It allows for some dexterous juxtapositions. Most notably she intertwines the “All The World’s a Stage” speech and it’s seven ages into the seven stages of grief that she’s experiencing and even into the set (which makes for a lovely, tied-up ending that I won’t spoil here).

The way she finds and inserts quotes from various Shakespeare plays to appropriately and poetically fit the story throughout is clever, but I often find I drift out of the storytelling to instead remembering where the text was from. This isn’t helped by some of the characters she inhabits seeming under-energised. It may be a measured choice considering the topic of grief, but it feels stagnant. It’s a shame, as the story is obviously very personal to her and with a bit more energy injected into lifting the Shakespearean text it could hold the audience more consistently and carry us through her seven stages.

Overall it’s an accomplished piece of writing about a very personal subject but it wants more. With more time or some fresh eyes on it, this piece could really fly.

Words Words Words runs through 4 March.

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