The Wonderful World of Hugh Hughes
Venue: Latitude Festival Theatre Tent
In a similar vein to his previous work, Hoi Polloi’s Hugh Hughes weaves a tale in his own intimiatble style weaving together the personal and the metaphysical, the past and the present.
Hugh Hughes has a charm that is nigh on impossible to resist. He makes such a concious effort to break down the walls between the performer and the audience, disarming you with false starts to the show, playful humour and the odd jibe about clothing, it is a testament to his skills as a performer that something that something so clearly so well thought out and dare I say calculated works at all, but that’s part of his beguiling magic. This was even more recognisible at this Latitude performance where he managed to lure those unsure festival-goers teetering on the edge of the theatre tent to stay and listen as his story unfolded.
This show lacked the emotional seriousness of Story of Rabbit which
dealt with the death of Hugh Hughes’ father, yet it retained a sense of truth and personal resonance in telling a simple story about friendship. Hughes stock and trade seems to be the universal truths that bind us all together in relationships and friendships and judging by the emphatic response from the audience he clearly struck a chord. What separates The Wonderful World from the earlier work is that Hughes performs it on a blank stage unaccompanied by his customary onstage friend. This brought to the forefront the imaginative power of Hughes’ language as well as the sense of personal connection between the performer and the audience regardless of any theatrical staging – Hughes could have been telling this story in a bar, a park. anywhere in fact and it wouldn’t have mattered. What this show loses from its sparse staging is that it doesn’t create the memorable images that lodge a show in your mind, something that characterise Hughes’ earlier shows, and this is to its detriment of this work.
From talking to people who have watched Hugh Hughes people seem to have a sense of personal sense of discovery when they come across his work, like a breath of freash air. I can think of far worse places to spend an hour than in this Wonderful World.
FringeReview are glad that audiences in Edinburgh this summer will be welcomed into his Wonderful World at the Pleasance.