Niki McCretton and Kathy Hinde, Relative

Review in Issue 18-1 | Spring 2006

It would be easy to miss just how good Niki McCretton is. Easy to mistake her openness and generosity in performance for something facile. But nothing could be further from the truth. For McCretton is a rare performer, combining her ambient and dispersed material with an adorable presence. ‘Adorable' because it is simply good and close to painful to be in her stage presence. What she does with that presence strikes deep and you take it home with you. Relative is a deceptive piece. It's way out beyond the documentary it at first appears to be. It's really a kind of emotional-geographic entertainment that goes everywhere, inside and out. Towards the end of the show there's a moment when the stage picture seems to bleed off into outer space – somehow, everything spreads ever wider and yet retains its friendly integrity. The angel is in the detail.

Relative is advertised as a show about grandparent/grandchild relations. It is far more ambitious and personal than that. Somehow it manages to do justice to its roots in a major community project in Morecambe while stratospherically transcending its material. Through dances, slapstick, casual chatter, reminiscence, showing of knickers, anticipations of regret, bingo, rituals, jelly babies, confessional, and powered wheelchair choreography, it bridges personal meditations on ageing and having or maybe not having children with a poignant and luxurious guide to emotional survival. By the end we have arrived at an immersive world of charm and pain that one longs to bathe deeply in. Only such a star guide as McCretton would then allow a projected grandma to steal the show from under her nose as she does.

In this show McCretton is perfectly complemented by Kathy Hinde who plays an adroit foil to McCretton; laconic and honest, she at first seems to be servicing the action, but increasingly takes hold of it, infiltrating her leads and plugs, her sounds and musics, into the dispersing and expanding world of the show. Superb.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 18-1
p. 25