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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Performance Review: Blank

Blank
Dean Elliott
6.45, The Hourglass, Friday 7th June

Dean Elliott enters the performance space, summoning applause from his audience. It is only as he sits down at his desk that we realise this is a mime act, with only sighs and noises to accompany this brave one man show. Mundane actions such as adjusting his wobbly table and laying out paper are hilariously perceptive, as Elliott mocks the procrastinating writer.

This act is maintained for some time, as he struggles to find the right piece of paper, the right pen, and his inspiration. I felt the performance losing pace, just as he changed tactics, at once the aspiring actor about to deliver a soliloquy, and then again, the final transformation to a painter trying to paint. He timed these changes well, and while repetition was used to comedic effect he didn't over do it.

I found myself an unexpected participant in this show, as Elliott attempted to find the right subject for his painting (needless to say, I wasn't it!) Audience participation can be difficult to handle, but he remained respectful while playing off the comedy of my not being able to keep a straight face.

Elliott's skill at using exaggerated facial expressions is reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin, and I'm certain he'd win any awards for best eyebrow acting. Blank is not a show which is going to change the world, but it is a well constructed piece of mime which was extremely enjoyable to watch.

This review was first published in Wildfire, the daily critical review for Exeter Ignite Theatre Festival 2013.

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