Edinburgh Fringe 2018
A dark, comedic, highly physical production incorporating illusions and masterful non-verbal storytelling. Joe Kilter has his own daily rituals – some even call it obsessive. But then a sudden change in his routine turns his world askew: Joe Kilter goes Off-Kilter.
Joe Kilter taps his fingers, takes time to sit comfortably, look out the window and contorts his face – he is bored. His life is filled with meticulousness and rituals. Everything he does is done in the same detail every time. An alarm clock rings, and rings, and rings yet again.
Time is a theme in this physical theatre piece, together with exploration of mental wellbeing, identity, feeling a little bit different from everyone else, and not quite being yourself. Written and performed by Ramesh Meyyappan and directed by Andy Arnold, the life of Joe Kilter unfolds in expected and unexpected ways with humour and drama. In silence, Meyyappan becomes the character of Kilter carefully going through his daily life.
Kilter has a creative way of moving objects, waking up and he gets in more trouble when he notices his arms are acting strangely. However, he is quick at finding innovative solutions. As a physical actor, Meyyappan has clarity and economy of movement. He integrates mime and slow motion movement into his situations seamlessly.
The set is simple and attractive, a pale coloured wooden bookcase with objects, a table and chair, a hanging clock that has its own sense of time, and a few small props that provide surprises.
Meyyappan’s repertoire of facial expressions conveys a lot or moods and reactions, such as quizzical, hopeful, wan, and pensive. His dark rimmed spectacles and dapper grey suit and tie fit Kilter’s personality. Atmosphere in this curious world of Joe Kilter is supported by a fascinating soundscape.
Kilter is in his own world and time stands still – there is not much going on in his life other that the same as every day stuff. Until one day when something different happens and changes the dynamic.
Meyyappan has a strong presence on stage and his movement is natural and purposeful to serve the story. Visually the piece is well developed and directed. Several sections seems slower than need be for the story development and could benefit from going deeper. Kilter is an observer of minutiae and his wit, humour and drama slowly unfold, and it’s sometimes realistic and sometimes poetic. An interesting balance of humanity of the man, Joe Kilter.