Edinburgh Fringe Review: Pondling

What are you talking about, Willis?

‘Pondling,’ and it’s being put on by Gúna Nua (‘New Dress’ in Irish!).

Time and place?

Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61)

1.30pm, until August 24th (not 11th)

Summarise it, please.

A young girl leads us through her lonely world and warped thought processes. Drama ensues.

Who pretends to be someone else in this?

Genevieve Hulme-Beaman. She also wrote it.

One-woman show? Booooooring…

You’re right: in the current state of affairs you no longer need an excuse to put on a one-human show. Rather than it being something special, the attitude is now ‘Of course, why wouldn’t you be in a one-wo/man show?’ This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, it is the style of the time, but it does make it more important to find the one-hander that is special – necessary – and Pondling is an absolute gem.

Right on, care to elaborate on this ‘Pondling?’

Genevieve is an incredibly impressive performer. She stomped on stage in her buckle up shoes, crazy eyes and absurdly powerful voice and we were all hooked.

It is a wonderful feat in story telling, primarily due to the unpredictability of its plot and its delivery. Our protagonist is essentially living alone on a farm, and her isolation leads her to, well, go completely insane. But, despite her apparent insanity and utterly unreasonable behaviour, Genevieve has created a rich character who is terrifyingly relatable. We have all had a ‘Johnno Boyle O’Connor’ that we dreamed of marrying from afar. We have all worn new black shoes on the first day of school in the hopes that they would unlock perpetual success. The piece is a triumph due its ability to make us laugh and sympathise with this rather disgusting little girl in her attic, as she is ruled by obsession and bribes chickens to listen to her.

The language of the piece is simple in terms of vocabulary and construction (I found myself pining for some poetry, but I feel that’s my fault!), and Genevieve’s ability to write concisely and understandably is impressive. It’s amazing, and the lack of poetry is more than made up for by the skilful use of repeated gestures and actions, which help the audience to keep up with the goings-on of this character’s mind, and Genevieve’s delightfully peculiar, fearless delivery (“WORK–OUT!”). Pondling is void of pretention, and adds to the sense that this is a modest gift for the audience – and that’s awesome.

Combien d’étoiles?


Show yourself!

Hugo Lau, if you please.


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