CASTING OFF

A Good Catch have returned to the Melba Spiegeltent, where this piece had its debut almost a year ago. Casting Off has all the polish of a well run-in show with the presence and humour of a freshly improvised farce. The audience are completely charmed before the tricks even begin; there is generosity and casual cheekiness in the air. The company is three women (Knit, Pearl and Slip) at different stages of life, without any notion of hierarchy or conventional relationships; they just are together – inseparable. This gentle abstraction leaves the action open to a multitude of moods, conversations and physicality loosely based around womanhood.
 

As this show does poetry/dialogue/one-liners/asides so well, it all feels like stylized chat and one of these which was particularly insightful; rattled off hundreds of anecdotes from mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. “She didn’t believe in marriage. She still doesn’t.” Credit must be given to these three highly skilled acrobats who can actually speak: naturally, clearly and with buckets of humour. All acrobats can speak, but not many do; here the tongue is an important muscle and an integral part of the whole. In fact, there is no musical score, except for the spoken and sung word, some crying and screaming. Slip (the unmissable Debra Batton) is whip-smart and wryly wise with advice from forbears like “Drinking may bring out the party girl, but she won’t remember the party.” Knit (base/catcher Spenser Inwood) carries the woes of youth and existence – and Pearl (flyer Sharon Gruenert) is equally expressive in her blunt and shy way.

The tricks are fun, fast and loose. The ground work is so strong, and the stamina is unbelievable. Slip throws herself to the group and springs up over and over. Knit and Pearl have a breathtaking finale which leaves no doubt of the beauty and strength of this show.