HEART, on at the Roundabout in Summerhall, tells the story of a woman’s discovery of her sexuality in the aftermath of a divorce. The play details the marriage, the various post-break-up adventures, and eventually finds its way to a beautiful love story.3st
The audience is amongst exceptional talent with the two performers on stage. Jade Anouka delivers the autobiographical story with such power, her poetry leaves you captivated throughout. She is comfortable playing various characters, and she has chosen her moments well to let the music stop, allowing her words alone to ring out into the theatre. Grace Savage, 4x UK beatboxing champion, acts as beatmaker throughout the show, creating atmospheric and intricate tracks in an instant. For reasons that become obvious throughout the play, the two women are extremely connected on stage, with the music responding to the poetry with an unmatched precision in timing.
The plot feels slightly too short-sighted at times, where context is only revealed to the audience at the exact moment it bears weight, and is not needed again. The second half of the play relies little on the elements set up in the first half. An example of this is the mother’s religious reaction to her daughter dating a female, a core conflict in the play. When meeting Jade’s family earlier on, perhaps a mention of religion being important to the family or specific character would heighten the stakes when she falls in love with a woman. This would also justify the challenges that Jade has with being in a same-sex relationship on a personal level.
The metaphor of the “beast” lacks some clarity. With it representing mental health issues seemingly born out of her first marriage, it seems the exact nature of these issues changes through the show and becomes unrelated to past incidents.
That being said, the sheer talent, pace, and energy that the poetry and beatboxing bring makes this an impressive feat. Towards the end, the play makes a plea for people to tell their stories. Jade tells her story, and it’s an important story to tell. But most refreshingly, it’s a heart-warming one, and I think we can all use a story like that right now.