A biblically inspired tale about the rearing of a baby in a junkyard does not sound like a promising premise for a play. However, as Finders Keepers shows us (now showing at Park Theatre) comedy, engaging characters and a plot (albeit a basic one) can all be achieved without dialogue in a piece that is fully inclusive of both deaf and hearing audiences.
A father and his daughter live in a junkyard on the fringes of society. Their lives are changed upon their discovery of an abandoned baby. The plot scarcely matters, though, in a production so heavily reliant on slapstick comedy. It is worth pointing out that Finders Keepers is entertaining because it is so funny. The audience howled with laughter as the two actors, Clare-Louise English and Jo Sargeant, devoted themselves for an hour to utter silliness: porridge was made and flung, babies were dropped (fake ones), and there were various non-verbal toilet jokes.
Jo Sargeant, who played the daughter, had excellent stage presence and her scenes towards the end of the play were genuinely moving, while Clare-Louise English portrayed both the father and the mother who abandons her baby
A few moments require tightening. The actors’ movements were occasionally out of sync in their physical routines. The crying noises, which came from speakers attached to the ceiling, were very noticeably not coming from the baby itself.
Overall, this modern take on the story of Exodus is an ideal play for kids. The imaginative set design, concept and interplay between actors and audience made it a highly memorable experience. Despite the somewhat puerile humour, the performers managed to convey deep feelings and life questions using only body language – no mean feat.
Photo: Chris Daw
Finders keepers is at Park Theatre from 4th until 29th April 2017, for further information or to book visit here.