Cacophony (2 stars)

This article is from 2017


One-woman show based on mime and clowning

Singer Ronan Keating once noted 'you say it best … when you say nothing at all'. That's clearly the philosophy of Heather Rose-Andrews, who rarely speaks during her one-woman show of physical theatre, mime and clowning. She's been a regular contributor to Cast Iron Theatre, a resident theatre company at Brighton's Sweet Dukebox, and she's arrived at the Fringe with a show written and directed by Andrew Allen. Rose-Andrews bursts onto the stage as something of a whirlwind of flailing arms and energy, impossible to forget even if large sections of her show are somewhat mystifying.

To start with the positive; the last two sections of Cacophony's hour work well. In the first, she enlists two game audience members to put laundry baskets on their heads and take part in a make-believe Grand Prix race, with the familiar soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain' playing in the background. For the final sketch, she plays a freshly hatched bird which relies on audience applause to provide the wind beneath its wings as it steps outside the nest. Both sketches work well, and send her off stage with a flourish.

But some of the preceding material is hard to describe because it's hard to understand. Because her show is almost entirely wordless, Rose-Andrews makes things hard for herself, and the poor dynamics of the function room-turned-stage at her venue means it's often hard to see exactly what she is miming. Sketches begin and end with audience members having little idea what her target is. Is she chopping trees? Setting traps? Building a monster? It's hard to tell without a clear view.

This is a hugely ambitious show that sporadically shows promise, but falls flat once too often. But Rose-Andrews deserves plus-points for effort and originality; with a bit more craft and guile, her Cacophony will resonate with a much sweeter sound.

Sweet Holyrood, until 27 Aug (not 16, 24 & 25), 7.30pm, £8 (£6).


  • 2 stars

Cast Iron Theatre Hear me roar! In a world full of sound and fury, and bells and whistles, one woman is ready to listen. Cutting through the confusion and finding meaning in the madness, this vital and dynamic show proves that we can say exactly what we want when we simply shut the hell up. Physical theatre is blended…