JAMES Rowland, described as a writer, performer and musician, has devised a trilogy of shows about how life is wonderful and painful, and how inadequately our words describe it. Under the umbrella of Tangram Theatre, he is touring them around the country, performing in conventional theatres and village halls.
The second of the solo one act playlets, A Hundred Different Words for Love, stopped at the Comrades Hall in Broadwindsor on its three-venue Artsreach tour, as James explained to the audience that the joy of rural touring was that it felt as though he was being invited into their own homes.
AHDWFL is a poignant and incisive encapsulation of how a good, feminist, straight man can be adrift and confused in the modern world, where sexual orientation and gender certainties have vanished, along with concepts like “jobs for life”, “property (real estate) is always a safe investment” and that Cadbury’s cream eggs will be the same size and taste the same this year as last.
The first play, Team Viking, toured last year to mixed response from the Dorset audiences. Some were offended at the language and confused by the conversational format. Not so at Broadwindsor, where everyone was delighted and involved in James’s story about a perhaps imagined romance, the friendship that was first introduced in the earlier play.
“It’s wonderful how he paints pictures with words,” was the general response after the 70 minute monologue, interspersed with looped music and enlivened by characters including an octogenarian double hip replacee, a starchy father tentatively moving with the times, and girl who may or may not have been called Sophie and especially a mischief of Tube mice.
This dishevelled man, with his Boris Johnson hair and full beard, holds his audience’s attention in the palm of his nervous hand.
I’m looking forward to the third installment, Revelations.