Put Your Sweet Hand In Mine - Photo Ludovic des Cognets

Andy Field & Ira Brand: Put Your Sweet Hand In Mine

Put Your Sweet Hand In Mine - Photo Ludovic des CognetsA show about love that from the start cossets us with the warmth and humanity of its two performers, sat with us in two parallel rows facing each other. There is the instant connection to the person opposite you and then we are carried into the show, as Brand describes moment by moment the way this beginning takes place, with all the detail and attendant excitement of the first tentative meeting with someone who you will fall in love with.

Cleverly moving through the phases of a relationship, with discrete sections: a playfully dull text about urban birds transforms into an exercise in split perspective and a poem of desire, leading us to the Paris metro and a chance encounter with all the awkwardness of two people delighted to have met but each unsure of the other’s feelings. The text allows us to ride out into an extended flight of fancy which, in the space between question and answer, captures the dream of a life together. The text is rich and suggestive, acutely observed, and its honesty brings forth the laughter of recognition.

There are times when the desire within the text to encapsulate a universality of experience and perspective results in a kind of list-mania, or when the emotions prescribed to the audience in the writing miss the mark, or are at least less interesting than what is actually being felt in that moment.

Ownership, control, destructive desire, the impossibility of knowing another, conquest and capitulation follow. In its final stanzas the work shifts from contemplation to exaltation, fierce passion and still further into the world of epic love, beyond reason, as Field is transformed into a tragic hero, his intense presence taking on a profound and beautiful quality that allows us to see him in a completely different way. Yet still never losing sight of the comic and indeed cosmic absurdity of love at the level of Hollywood fantasy.

Then, in the quiet, a perfect moment of contact, genuine, full, accepting, and complete.

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About Edward Rapley

Artist, actor, performer, and writer. A proud member of residence.org 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.