Glimpse (The Argus)
A hit from the Edinburgh Fringe festival was staged at the Marlborough Theatre last week, filling it with drama, suspense and genuine laughs. Glimpse is a collection of four one-act plays by Thomas Everchild, all performed by Philippa Hammond. Each monologue delves into a different character and spins a tale which reels the audience in as the dimensions unfold. Hammond expertly places her audience in the scene, deftly moving across centuries and cultures as she embodies the mind and motivations of four women.
First she is Hypatia, a fifth century scientist and philosopher who has been virtually erased from history. Her questioning curiosity and fascination with physics and philosophy leaves her unwilling to fall in line behind other women. But by opposing political dogma in her quest for knowledge, she poses a threat only to herself.
Transforming in character, Hammond next plays a very proper Edwardian lady, drawn into the seedier side of the emerging motion picture business. Hammond makes real the young girl dazzled by love and impelled by necessity. Her performance is subtle and evades sensation, while Everchild’s writing doesn’t blind us with its intentions.
While the settings may be historical, the themes translate easily into modern concerns. These women have stories which demonstrate a survival of spirit even when the odds are stacked against them.
The third play switches to a cinematic scene, set in Forties New York, behind the frosted glass window of a private eye’s office. Hammond senses her character in every movement, her gait falling into louche photographic poses …. What begins as comic book cliché becomes a plot of love, jealousy, paranoia and missing persons befitting a pulp detective paperback, with its deadly twist on the last page.
Finally, we are snapped back closer to home. Everchild’s understated writing becomes increasingly comic in a deadpan scene of amateur theatre, the confessions of a bit-part in a hopeless fringe production.
Glimpse is graspable, engrossing and very entertaining; channel-flicking glances at scenes you won’t want to switch over.