Hoipolloi, Floating

Review in Issue 18-4 | Winter 2006

Floating is a celebration of the triumph of the little man, a paean to the unprofessional, executed with effortless precision. We are welcomed into the delightfully cluttered theatrical world of Hugh Hughes, whose comingof-age story, his difficulty escaping the island of Anglesey, is transposed onto a cosmic scale as the island itself floats away on a journey around the northern hemisphere, with Hughes himself trapped on it.

Shôn Dale-Jones’s incarnation is completely endearing as he and his enthusiastic if hapless assistant Sioned scramble through the postures of performance-art-esque low-tech trickery in a production dedicated to his Gran. Ordinance Survey maps, projections of sea and sky, metaphorical (and physical) lines, real water, real (if modest) nudity and an entirely surreal tale told in a hyper-real fashion, combine to destabilise notions of truth and fiction, depositing us squarely in the company’s theatrical hands. Hoipolloi have created a complete alternative universe that absorbs you from the first step into the auditorium, where a nervous Hughes greets you from the side of the stage, to the post show in-character blog. In planned future collaborations between Hoipolloi and Hugh Hughes Productions we’ll be seeing more of this character and it’s an enticing prospect – for all its sophistication, the brilliance of this piece is that it never loses its sense of the human heart at the centre of its story.

It is a testament to the dexterity and ability of this company that even as they deconstruct their stagecraft they remain able to harness its power, creating moments of theatrical transformation which transfigure the stage. Hoipolloi aim to create theatre which stretches the imagination: Floating stretches your mind, and your heart as well.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Aug 2006

This article in the magazine

Issue 18-4
p. 11