FringeReview UK 2015
Vesper Time tackles themes of paternal absence, poignant memories and mourning through a heart-warming combination of soul searching, humour and absurd home truths.
Touching upon undercurrents and contrasts of death and forgiveness, Stacy references Moby Dick whilst utilising MTV pop songs as hymn books, delivering her signature take on some favourite Hollywood blockbusters. With more than a nod to her stand-up comedy roots, Vesper Time offers up a subversive sermon, delivered with characteristic quirkiness and a ‘vesper’ – a secular evening prayer.
Stacy Makishi is a truly charming performer. In her new show, Vesper Time, she woos the audience right from the start, and has them eating out of her hand. The performance starts, but it doesn’t really start, Stacy chats to us about the show, and how she feels about doing the show, and before too long we realise we are there, and it has begun. It’s a nice device, and it relaxes us into the performance – so much so that within a few minutes of starting half the audience were on their feed roaring the lyrics to Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car. (It may have helped that they were all drama students, but hey!)
This performance is partly a story about regret – her love for a stepfather who was briefly kind to her, and who she lost contact with, and how she has stayed small for her entire life, never allowing herself to be big, successful or confident. She starts the show attempting to put on a pair of glittering platform shoes in which to perform, but they get the better of her, and she remains in her plastic slippers most of the time, a smaller version of the woman she could become.
She also takes the opportunity to deliver a motivational speech to her audience, encouraging them to be the biggest selves they can be, and not afraid to succeed. This is then followed by everyone singing what becomes the refrain of the show, ‘And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone.’
With this she manages to create a warming sense of community and love amongst those in the theatre, and to be honest, her words really did feel inspirational and motivating, as they were being delivered with such sincerity and humour.
The set was simple, with hanging white sheets at the back of the theatre that Stacy used to great effect, wrapping herself in them, and pushing herself through them as she spoke lyrical words. She looked as though she was being birthed from an embryonic sac, her surreal outline of glasses and gaping mouth almost alien as she advanced towards us.
I did feel that the show was a bit long – it would have benefited from some decisive editing to bring it down to an hour, which would have helped to tighten and focus the piece. However, overall Vesper Time was a lovely show, using clips of well-known songs to underscore and enhance the point Stacy was trying to make. I very much enjoyed watching and listening to Stacy, who is a wonderfully odd presence onstage – confident and commanding, whilst also seeming sweet and vulnerable.