- Lorna Irvine
- 7 August 2017
This article is from 2017.
A meditation on identity and letter to herself
There are righteous bursts of anger, though: first, at the pain she suffered in losing her mother very young, and then at the exclusion of not being able to come out as a girl growing up, in part due to the lack of visibility and also fundamental rights for trans gendered people. At times, it's incredibly hard to watch, too raw, as Clifford puts her life right in front of the audience through a series of beautiful photographs of herself as a little boy, John, and as an adult with her late wife.
But, this being Jo Clifford, nothing is so straightforward, and there is an impish sense of humour running counter to her stories of suffering. An acid trip is hilariously rendered, and described by Clifford with great insight and wit as though the insides of a lava lamp have exploded out onto the stage, and lysergic sugar cubes distributed to everyone. Wagner's Ring Cycle is put through a mischievous spin cycle. Even her depression is presented with a self-deprecating one-liner.
The soothing, hypnotic tone won't be for everyone: Kai Fisher's exquisite lighting and director Susan Worsfold's pared-down set, complemented by an ambient wash of sound by Matt Padden, bring a hymnal quality to the piece. But for those seeking lucid and emotive storytelling, it's a worthwhile and movingly evocative depiction of someone now at peace with the woman she struggled to be, after years of being ostracised. Change takes time, and progress never moves as quickly as it should. Clifford and Goode's words stand as a reminder that for so many, it is a long and dangerous journey to gaining acceptance.
Traverse, until 27 Aug, (not 14, 21) times vary, £19.50 (£14.50).