Writer: Josh Overton
Producer: Joanna Morley
Projection/lighting designers: Adam Hutton & Ed Grimoldby
Sound designer: Mat Oliphant
Movement Director: Chris Yarnell
Stage Designer: Emma Phimister
Sad Little Man is one of those things you go into unprepared, then it turns around and knocks you for six. This play hurts.
‘Stand up Tragedy’ is an apt phrase to describe the set, and a clever way into a difficult subject. How do you talk openly about something that makes you feel so unutterably wretched? Unutterably. You can’t, really. So Lee, the protagonist, begins with a story, standing by a microphone very much like a comedy set; except that his story isn’t funny but poignant, and as the set progresses we see exactly why this show gets its title.
Lee is not ‘sad’ how an adult may say and mean that word. ‘I mean sad how a kid means it.’ Josh Overton has such a way with words that speak volumes with only a sentiment. Emotions are so large that words can never express how deep and dark we feel, or describe the horrors of an experience or how that experience leaves us shipwrecked. The idea of doing stand up to show these things is quite bizarre, and works perfectly as it breaks down from the initial structure into a scarily accurate demonstration of an incredibly sad man.
What this performance confronts is the often neglected side of a tragedy; the side of those left to live. Overton’s writing and Strong’s performance are brutally honest and frank, the tragedy still raw enough that there is no hiding how lost this man is. He makes it simple; I am sad. I want it to stop.
This performance is incredibly brave, and deeply, deeply moving. Love and heartbreak, and what is more than either of those, is explored gracefully and with respect until three and a half seconds feels like the end of the world.
23rd-27th August, 7.30pm