The Hush at the National Theatre | Theatre Rreview
“There is a rack at the back if you want to take your shoes off,” the ushers tell us as we enter the theatre. It feels like starting rehearsals for a new play; immediately we are asked to join in and with a simple act of removing our shoes, we enter The Hush.
The production is an exploration in sound with a loose narrative. Two strangers (Tobias and Suzannah) enter into sound therapy, exploring and recreating previous experiences. Carefully, Tobias recreates a treasured moment from an extinguished relationship and Suzannah investigates her father’s past. Sound is embraced and incorporated, lulling the audience and reminding them of their own treasured memories. Indeed, written on a blackboard on exiting the theatre is the question: “What personal sound do you most want to hear again?” We are reminded how much we take hearing for granted and how vital it is to our lives.
Throughout the production we encounter many different soundscapes like, for example the oppressive, loud bangs and pops of warfare. When subjected to these noises, the audience reacts not only with their mind but with their body. In contrast, there are sounds that lull calm and comfort like Proust’s madeleines: they remind us of little things that we remember only in the attic of our minds. Then there are the pedestrian sounds of cars passing in the street and the patter of thousands of feet. The everyday-ness is highlighted by the removal of our shoes at the beginning of the play and the intimate space that this production is mounted in.
Throughout this brilliant fifty-minute production, we are reminded of the power of sound and encouraged to listen more carefully. It is a brilliant piece that challenges the way we view theatre.
The Hush is at the National Theatre until 3rd August 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.