Fringe Online 2020
Directed by Leah Townley and produced by LightsDown Productions.
Judy Upton’s one of the most unexpected writers, and there’s often a shy spectral epiphany to her work. This is her second lockdown play, and it’s a quieter piece, almost a short story at a little over 12 minutes. Hannah played and acted by Jodyanne Richardson is a haulage driver, finding she has little to say in lockdown to her superstitious Lottery-obsessed Wexford-begotten mother or friends over Skype after the first few minutes.
Life to the hydroptic earth has shrunk though this is June and it should be bursting in with summer. It’s lockdown of course and the nadir of Hannah’s journey seems to be reached when she heads for a collision with a white deer or stag: a rare beast known as a White Hart. And these animals, once encountered mean things. It stares straight back at her, defiance in its red eyes and she moving straight for it with seven and a half tons.
What us signifies for Hannah is a roster of phantasmal choices, but then she has google and a myth-kitty.
Richardson’s sotto voce performance is perfectly nuanced by the round-heeled shrunkenness of Hannah’s expectations. She possesses to the right matter-of-fact way of relating things not matter-of-fact at all. It’s given to few to gradate and notch the affirmations of small turning-points that prove so vital in the way Upton does.
This is well-lit, well-directed from a fixed camera position slightly up-tilted with good all-round professional finish.
Winner of an OnComm award from Off West End, this is another Upton triumph by stealth and on the back of other recent works of hers on Radio 4 in August 2019: The Bulbul Was Singing.