Is love stronger than death? If it isn’t, then Crazy Glue certainly is. This magical solvent can be used to mend a variety of objects including broken glasses, sawn off fingers and a marriage fracturing as the result of a death. Touching, funny and impeccably timed, Single Shoe Productions have hit upon a gem of an idea with this their Edinburgh premiere.
The show opens with a snapshot of grief before rewinding to the earlier courting and wedded bliss of this cartoonishly-ideal 1950s, suburban couple. Their naively perfect union is mirrored in the marriage of performance between Wayne Smith and Tomas, who pass mimed actions and their accompanying sound effects fluidly back and forth to create the world around them and their minimal set. Following an early twist in the plot, we see cracks appearing in their relationship as the morning routine they share over the bathroom sink starts to disintegrate. Actions certainly speak louder in this piece as the words uttered are in high-pitched gibberish, a choice that beautifully highlights the ‘absurdity of marriage’ as the company describe it, and never more so than after the unthinkable happens.
There’s no doubt the duo are gifted physical performers, and there’s a particularly enjoyable and off-the-wall fisticuffs in slow motion about halfway through, where ears are ripped off and glued back on. Although the mime could be tighter and clearer in places, their fast-paced synchronicity is very impressive. Praise is also due to Catherine Webb, lighting designer, for her bold washes that effectively set the emotional tone as well as a variety of landscapes.
Crazy Glue explores the different gender reactions to loss and it is refreshing to see the idealised housewife become more human in her bereavement. A suitably surreal and uplifting ending prevents the show from becoming more ‘tragic’ than comic, and a clever shift of our viewing perspective confirms the company’s ability to continue to surprise and delight their audience. With such a debut, it’s clear Single Shoe Productions is one to watch.