Verity Standen - Mmm Hmmm - Photo Paul Blakemore

Verity Standen: Mmm Hmmm

Verity Standen - Mmm Hmmm - Photo Paul BlakemoreThree singers on a bare stage wheel through corkscrew-tight curls of song, ricocheting between techniques and styles as they jump from impressionistic, abstract vocals into capitalist gregorian chant and beyond. If you want to hear three incredible voices embark on an intricate journey then this is the show.

Mmm Hmmm is a combination of sublime vocals and ludicrous choreography. The technique, commitment and power evident in the performers’ voices is undercut by movement that verges on the comically arbitrary without really giving us the freedom to laugh. The costumes are another oddity, initially they look awful: baggy, formless, each completely of a colour that feels almost distressing in combination with the others. As the things progress they reveal themselves to be an aspect which supports and develops the changes of mood present in the piece.

Reading into the work I see references to the female perspective on love from a range of eras. There is a feeling of the having to cope happily with repression; the desire for everything to appear to be ok.

The apogee of the show comes, appropriately enough, in its finale where a perfectly executed song of unrequited love and stifled affection reduced me to tears with its beauty. I left the theatre vibrating with the spirit of the work, a resonance that continues long beyond its final notes.

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About Edward Rapley

Artist, actor, performer, and writer. A proud member of in Bristol. Trained at Ecole Philippe Gaulier. He has had the good fortune to be supported by Arnolfini, Bristol Old Vic and The Basement in the creation of some of his four solo shows. In his writing for Total Theatre he attempts to met each show on its own level and respond to the thoughts and dreams it sets off in his head.