The latest offering by Alphamum and Lights Down Productions, directed by Daniel Brennan, opens to the familiar tune and namesake, Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds, to a stage strewn with boxes of all different shapes and sizes.
Joann Condon, whom you may know from Little Britain as ‘Pat’ the ‘fat fighter’, and star of this one-woman show, sets the scene by explaining their significance.
In doing so, she explores the idea of boxes and how we not only put people into them, but how we are in turn placed in them by others.
Of how we stow away our own experiences, ambitions, and regrets, and that our lives are the sum of these ‘little boxes’.
It is performed before a modestly sized audience in an intimate and cosy setting, where the proximity to the audience really adds weight to the almost confessional nature of the play.
Fair warning for those planning on a front row seat, however, as there is also an element of audience participation involved, with Joann picking out a temporary support actor to assist in some of the more light-hearted sections.
Joann’s own experiences within showbiz make up a large part of the performance, with anecdotes detailing the trials she has had to overcome in the industry.
Whereas these may be somewhat unrelatable to the audience, accounts of her family, motherhood and the general experience of middle-age will strike a common chord with any audience.
The show at 53Two is brief, at just over an hour… but for the £12 pound admission, it covers a lot of ground in that time.
Condon recounts hilarious incidents from her life one moment – drawing gales of laughter from the crowd – and shifts the tone to a more poignant one the next, by exploring the more tragic and sombre chapters of her life.
Whereas the comedic sections are a little too reliant on the frequent F-bombs – serving often as the punchline – the more heartfelt moments are impactful and show off Condon’s impressive range as an actor.
Throw into the mix the occasional, impromptu dance number, and you can begin to get an idea of the energy being projected on stage.
Frequently funny, and as often touching and poignant, Little Boxes is an exploration of one woman’s life that will ring true for some but be food for thought for all.
Little Boxes is at 53Two Theatre, Arch 19 Watson Street, M3 4LP on 12th November and 16th – 20th November at 7:30pm. BSL interpreted performance, 17th November at 7:30pm. Tickets are available here.