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Theatre review: 360 
8th-Sep-2010 10:47 pm
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Having performed his shows Floating and Story of a Rabbit at the Pit in recent years, "emerging Welsh artist Hugh Hughes" returns there to present a triple-bill under the title "The Wonderful World of Hugh Hughes." vanessaw and I have already seen the other two plays, which is probably just as well 'cause I'm not sure I could handle all that whimsy in a single month, let alone a single day, but his most recent show 360 is getting its first London outing. The usual multimedia and supporting actors are gone this time, leaving just Hugh on a bare stage telling his story, which this time is about friendship. Having had his usual cheerful attitude punctured by a work colleague, Hugh returns to the town where he grew up, to meet his friend Gareth and walk to the top of Mount Snowdon. There he plans to rotate 360° and gain a different perspective. Along the way there's reminiscences of growing up, the first girl he loved, the friends having a spat and making up, and some unexpected cross-dressing.

As usual the audience are greeted by Hugh on the way in, with him chatting to various people and encouraging everyone to get to know the people surrounding them. Tonight he was rather distracted by an 8½-month pregnant woman in the back row, having convinced himself she was going to go into labour during the performance. One thing I always find funny is Hughes' deconstructing the simple theatrical techniques he's using, with the same twinkly-eyed, childlike glee he greets everything else with. Again this is a very endearing, odd little show, although probably the weakest of the three I've seen so far; there were times when sequences went on a bit too long, or maybe it's just that there's an extended poo joke along the way, and I have a kneejerk reaction with scatological humour - I always think it means writers have run out of other funny stuff to write. Still enjoyable overall though.

Quite a few times tonight Vanessa wondered out loud how similar the actor is to Hugh in real life; funnily enough on the way out I shared a lift with Hugh's creator, Shôn Dale-Jones, although obviously that wasn't a long enough time to answer her question. I can say his Welsh accent isn't quite as strong in real life though.

360 by Hugh Hughes is in repertory until the 30th of September at the Pit.
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