Sometimes it’s easier not to talk. That’s the logic of So It Goes, a wonderful piece of wordless storytelling by Le-Coq trained company On The Run. There are words of course, they just aren’t spoken. Instead, Hannah Moss and David Ralfe equip themselves with miniature whiteboards and spell it out for us.
It’s a device that could grow tiresome, but used sparingly as it is, the whiteboards serve as a reminder of how difficult it is to articulate feelings of grief. In fact, in the seven years since her dad died, Hannah had hardly spoken about it all. Not one to be defeated, she enlisted her friend David to help her on a journey to finally come to terms with losing her dad.
The lack of spoken words requires a degree of physical discipline and dexterity from the two performers – not to mention countless cardboard cut-outs. They use the hand drawn sketches to paint a picture of the man she knew and loved. It plays out like an etch-a-sketch with bells on, as we learn of his passion for running, his overly enthusiastic dad-dancing and his fondness of novelty tea cosies.
Having everything hand drawn in this way means that the gravitas of the subject matter is usefully at odds with its playful presentation. And as we are told of her dad’s passing, Hannah’s frankness is as disarming as it is moving. A moment when his discarded spectacles come to rest on an empty bed side hospital chair says more about grief than any self-help book ever could.
The pacing needs sharpening in places and the relationship with her mum could be developed into something of greater consequence, but this is a show about her dad. And it’s a heartfelt tribute worth treasuring. Beguiling and believable, So It Goes proves that some things are better left unsaid.
So It Goes is at the Underbelly (Venue 61) until 25 August. For more information and tickets visit the EdFringe website.