© Image: Graham Saville
Losing any one of your five primary senses is particularly devastating, but to lose one's voice (especially as an actor) is unimaginable. Written by Jo Harper, Can You Hear Me Running? is based on Louise Breckon Richards' own journals about the road to running the London Marathon – an unusual means to recovering her voice after a rare condition.
Through the show we get a glimpse of Richards' previous life as a performer – no stranger to singing on stage, a life encumbent on her being able to communicate vocally. Can You Hear Me Running? doesn't shy away from the stark reality of the situation (with one five minute sequence showing the inner workings of Richards'-own 'misbehaving' larynx). However, Richards isn't afraid to bring levity to the proceedings or to point out the more absurd aspects of her predicament, whether it is the certitude of voice experts or of the spiritual New Age healers... all sounding eccentric in their own way.
Accompanied on stage by pianist Dan Glover, Richards delivers a warm, candid performance, replete with silhouettes, visual projections and a deft touch. Several years ago I had my own 'throat scare', so this show brought back all those dormant memories, albeit in a distilled, optimistic fashion.
All-in-all, Can You Hear Me Running? is an entertaining personal odyssey, a reminder of what happens to a woman who literally as well as metaphorically loses and finds her voice.
© Michael Davis 2016
Can You Hear Me Running? plays at StageSpace - Pleasance London until 23rd Oct 2016 (8pm, 5:30pm, 1pm).