Glue at the Ovalhouse
Louise Wallwein brings us to the peaks and troughs of her life in a mere 70 minutes, in an abridged version of her experience in care, intermittent to the overall journey of finding her birth mother. The play is set in a time when being homosexual was less accepted than in the modern day, particularly for Louise as she grows up in a Catholic care home as a lesbian. Underlying themes of maternal and family relationships develop throughout in a gripping one-woman portrayal of Wallwein’s hardships.
To set the scene, murmurs of Jaydev Mistry’s calming music plays subtly in the background, intertwining with the vibrant red as it falls upon a neutral and darker colour scheme. One woman reaches out under a single spotlight and tells a story of a lone empty seat at a poetry gig of hers in the late 90s, which we later find out to be her mother who put her up for adoption at a young age.
Interestingly, the music is reminiscent of that in a meditation room, starkly contrasted with the darker and less serene themes and feelings of Wallwein’s monologue. The emotion exhibited throughout the show is clearly extracted from the performer’s real-life experiences rather than being artificially generated, pulling at the heartstrings of everyone in the room for the entirety of the play. Additionally, the simplistic design of the set and use of minimal props is used especially effectively to emphasise yet not detract at all from either the story or the performer herself. Each prop is symbolic of a memory or person in her life and has the ability to give context and animate the storytelling further. One by one, every object on the stage progresses the simply poetic experience, leading to a powerful and captivating climax.
The development towards the sweet and endearing finale leaves the audience believing that hardships are temporary. Moreover, the mixture of performance poetry and factual biography is simply thrilling and gripping throughout, making this a must-see show.
Photo: Rachel Cherry
Glue is at the Ovalhouse from 3rd October until 7th October 2017. For further information or to book visit the Ovalhouse website here.