Guest contributor Paul T. Davies reviews I Know all the Secrets in My World at the Mercury Theatre for Keep Colchester Cool.


I Know all the Secrets in My World – Tiata Fahodzi @ the Mercury Studio

“A play about what happens when speaking is impossible” is how Tiata Fahodzi describes this piece, which examines the relationship between a father and son following the loss of their wife and mother. We see them, all too briefly, as a close unit, playing on the Wii, setting the table for breakfast, re-enacting their superheroes. Then their world comes crashing down, play becomes almost impossible, routines are fractured and words become increasingly absent as grief chokes them.

The performers, Samuel Nicholas as the son and Solomon Israel as his father, are physically powerful and emotionally astute. The movement is taut and concise throughout, beautifully interpretative of their destroyed world. It is a powerful examination of grief. The Mother is present through her absence throughout the play- her voice heard at the beginning, recorded for prosperity on the answer phone, her perfume pervades the set at one point, and, in a beautiful sequence towards the end, her clothes appear on hangers, falling down from the door frames, beautifully lit. Father and son drift apart, the only words being spoken include; Dad, I love you, words caught at the edge of hearing. Often the father stutters, unable to express how he feels. As he begins to work his way through the loss, the table is set for breakfast, and he asks his son, “How are you”. Beautiful.

At times I felt that the play could have gone even further in examining the impact of loss on the son. He creates his own imaginary world in which to cope, and I felt that could have been shared more. Occasionally the staging in the studio hid part of the action from where I was sitting. But Tiata Fahodzi have created a piece so tender and fragile, you feel that touching it would shatter it to pieces. Mesmerising.


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