18 March 2015
Soho Theatre Upstairs
Reviewed by James Garden
It is impossible to not feel great leaving Hiraeth, now on for a limited run at the Soho Theatre Upstairs. The piece, created by stars Buddug James Jones, Max Mackintosh, and director Jesse Briton, is the all too familiar story of “Girl leaves home for big city, with big intentions and a dream. Growth and hilarity ensues.” Hiraeth could be accused of excessive naval gazing, it even admits to the act of self-indulgence about two thirds of the way through, however, it more than saves itself with its wonderful and indomitable Welsh spirit, comedic genius, and truly genuine core. This core is found in the shows protagonist, Bud, mostly playing the one role, herself, and whilst admitting she “isn’t an actor,” she certainly could fool anyone into thinking she is. Her co-star, Max, jumps acrobatically around her and musician David Grubb playing practically every other character in the show with, what looks like, total ease. David, with his nearly-mute always-on character provides some of the best quiet comedic gags of the show.
If “Girls” is HBO’s “look at us, we’re millennials and we’re angry,” Hiraeth is its theatrical antidote. There’s a great deal of heart found in the piece, a hopefulness for the future, even if Bud, playing what is suggested to be a heightened version of herself, shows desperation and slight mental cracking as she cautiously squints at what’s next in life.
These characters– and quite possibly one might believe the performers considering how meta the story appears to be– haven’t a clue what they’re doing with their lives, but they’re going to have quite a lot of fun doing it, and they’re hoping that an audience will as well. And an audience certainly does. This is certainly aided by the music, composed and performed by Max Mackintosh and David Grubb.
Hiraeth, for lack of a better word, is utterly adorable, and a must-see.
Hiraeth runs until 21 March at Soho Theatre