So It Goes, Underbelly, Edinburgh, review: 'A perfectly formed fringe-sized gem'

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: A tale of coming to terms with grief

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The Independent Culture

One of this year’s breakthrough, ‘buzzy’ shows, So It Goes is a strong calling card for new company On the Run.

A tale of coming to terms with grief, its gimmick is that the cast don’t speak: Hannah Moss and David Ralfe are physically exuberant, and everything that needs to be spelled out is done so on small whiteboards worn around their necks.

Except that this isn’t really a gimmick: form perfectly matches content. Moss developed the piece after finding it impossibly painful to talk about her father’s passing; he died of cancer when she was 17.

So It Goes celebrates the life as well as mourning the death: Moss and Ralfe scamper around with big grins on their face, as they list her dad’s favourite things (tea cosies, dancing to Shania Twain, running) or recreate her mum and dad’s first encounter.

Both are utterly watchable and winning; Ralfe has a particular gift for physical comedy (it’s no surprise he’s Lecoq trained). And they continue the black-on-white line-drawn style to inventively create all sorts of cutely clever props and scenery.

But So It Goes faces the painful stuff head-on too: the hospital scenes, the final phonecall, Hannah’s devastated withdrawal.

The written signs do not dim this pain; they distill it, crystallize it. Moss and Ralfe carry the audience with them - turns out the thing about silent plays is that you can hear an absolute symphony of sniffing in the sad bits. This wonderful weepy is a perfectly formed fringe-sized gem.

To 24 Aug;