Sshhh, Don’t Tell Anyone! ***

The Space @ Royal College of Surgeons, 8 – 20 August 2009

Reviewed for the British Theatre Guide

Inspired by Frank Warren’s Postsecret blog, Z Theatre Company advocate sharing secrets, rather than bottling them up; which surely makes Sshhh, Don’t Tell Anyone! a touch counterintuitive as a title for the resulting play. Still, the show inherits Postsecret’s mixture of amusing inconsequentiality and shocking or tragic revelation.

A call centre provides a framework to be papered with anonymously donated secrets, both figuratively (the characters are composites built from the material received) and literally (the floor and walls of the space are strewn with postcards and bits of notepaper, each with its own scribbled or carefully handwritten confession).

Individual voices rise above a murmur of comic customer service conversations; a device which is pleasing to the ear and also emphasises how good a time the world always seems to be having when we’re at our lowest. A couple of short physical sequences, while well executed, add little value; and even in this short work, one or two of the characters’ monologues outstay their welcome. While Z are probably right, and many secrets probably are best freed rather than bottled up, there is a point at which a confession becomes a whinge, and Sshhh passes that point more than once.

Written by Z Theatre Company

Crew includes Sophie Lenski and Ellis Leaf (directors)

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