Lila Clements has come to the Pleasance Theatre to share her story with us. There is just one little problem: she does not remember what happened. In the witness box she is to testify on something she has no memory of, and her one-woman show serves as an attempt to put the pieces together. Look, No Hands, directed by Anna Ryder is a gripping solo performance of how the actress’ life changed from one day to the other.
Clements enjoys the attention she is receiving from the audience. She fills the space with her story and vividly paints the picture in our minds as she recalls what happened on one particular day. She is cycling down Kennington Road, when she gets “swamped” by a white van and almost becomes a fatality. Everything that happens in the fifteen minutes before and the two hours after is lost in her memory due to a seizure that she suffers on site. Hospitals, lawsuits, and nightmares are the result of it; however, the most important part is missing: what happened in those two hours and fifteen minutes?
Look, No Hands is the result of a long search. Clements’ clothes from the accident are pinned up on the crime wall behind her, the helmet is dangling in front of it, and there’s footage to be found on the internet. 24 Hours in A&E has captured her moments of unconsciousness in hospital, and she finds herself frantically watching the footage over and over on the hunt for something: for her side of the story. However, the show that she performs at the Pleasance Theatre and recorded on my computer screen will be as close as she ever gets to it.
Clements’ show is clever and engaging. A bike that is conveniently set up in the middle of the space finds its use in several of the memories that she shares with us; her story has three layers: recollections from her childhood, the accident and what happened after, and of course the here and now where she invites us to have a share in her experience. With her energy and enthusiasm, she fills every corner of the black box theatre (and my screen), because who doesn’t love sharing the story of their misfortune? Especially if it has such a good ending: she doesn’t die.
“Everything that happens now, it’s all extra” is exactly the mentality that she brings to the performance. Savouring each moment and drawing us in with a detective chase through her own casefile, and scary recollections of the event that changed her life, Look, No Hands makes for a genuinely exciting piece of theatre.
Look, No Hands is playing at stream.theatre until 7 November 2021. For more information and tickets visit stream.theatre’s website.