In the definition of a hole in the wall theater (I think I spent more time trying to find the place than watching the show), comes Ben Moor’s one-man surrealist and comedic ramble through life, Each of Us. The simple black stage, despite having a slight acting showcase feel, actually makes quite a suitable background for Moore’s loud and expressive performance of a man’s journey through a breakup and self-realization. In a rambling manner, Ben paints a picture of a future world where everything is a play on words and just slightly ironic. He calls upon Einstein’s law of sarcasm – how every action has an equal and opposite ‘tut’. In this world and on the advice of a little boy, Moore’s businessman realizes he has lost his treasure, what he goes on for and makes him happy. He has broken up with the woman he loves and has lost his job and struggles to find the why of his life and the where of his soul.
Ben Moore is clearly a talented speaker and the project comes across as a long standup/storytelling routine. How he gets his tongue around his twisting words that fast and with that little breathe is both impressive and at times exhausting to listen to. While his face and his voice are expressive and engaging, his body movement is often trapped in too much motion, as though he is trying to physically compensate for the lack of set. Just as much as the physicality seems to on occasion over assert itself, so did the language of his script. While very clever and often laugh out loud funny, there is sometimes a hint of being just a little too pleased with itself, with its own cleverness. This self-satisfaction and the occasionally saccharine over emotionalizing and emphasizing of “message” is distancing at times. Moore excels at witticisms and sarcasm, deadpan as any great standup comedian; yet when he slows down to have a moment of contemplation and sorrow, he truly takes you with him. It is in the moments that the story tries to extend too far beyond itself, turn his life into a metaphor and philosophy that it falters. However, what is clear throughout the performance and especially by the actor’s short thanks afterwards, is that this production is genuine, heartfelt and sincere which makes up for all the minor pitfalls it comes across.
March 5th 2014 Pleasance Theatre March 9th 2014 Southwark Playhouse
March 13th 2014 Canal Café Theatre March 16th 2014 Arcola Theatre