In 1995, Hugh Hughes (aka Shôn Dale-Jones, of Floating fame, last year’s unexpected Fringe hit) lost his neighbours’ rabbit, which he was taking care of while they were on holiday.
In 2001, he lost his father, who fell from a ladder and died while Hughes was away working. Hemelds these two events into a moving – and at times very funny – study of bereavement.
Using a multimedia presentation with fellow Welshman Aled Williams providing musical accompaniment, Hughes deftly glides between the two stories to examine the relationship between experience and fantasy, and the nature of regret.
Along the way, using simple props such as a train ticket, a potato and a block of wood, he ponders on the mutability – and lack of it – of human existence. In other words, enjoy what you have while it’s there because, like wood to sawdust, you cannot go back.
The section where Hughes explains the metaphysics of his dad’s fall from the ladder and his subsequent ascent to heaven is unbearably moving. But it is never mawkish and, when one feels he might descend into Welsh whimsy, Hughes lightens the moment by breaking the fourth wall to explain the artifice of the show or to offer audience members refreshment. As he so rightly says, it’s the profoundest moments in life when we most need a cup of tea.
This is heartfelt and insightful stuff that has great power to move. Highly recommended.