How much fun can you have watching a one-man show in which the protagonist doesn’t utter a single word?
Quite a lot, actually.
“Memories of a Mute” manages to be cute but not too cutesy, cheeky but not trashy, and moving without becoming maudlin.
The action begins with our romantic lead poking his head out of his humble abode—a wheelie bin—which he struggles to clamber out of, revealing multicolored knee-high stripy socks which he has somehow managed to keep pristine while sleeping in the trash. What follows is a trip down memory lane revolving around a tale of heartbreak, which is acted out in mime with skill and humor.
This journey into the past might be led by a mute but it isn’t conducted in silence: music plays a key role in getting the laughs, whether we’re giggling at our hapless mime’s seductive body-popping or his inappropriately saucy CD collection or his silly harmonica playing.
It’s only fair to warn anyone interested in going along that there’s audience participation aplenty—you might be one of the lucky few singled out for a spot of tandem doughnut eating—but should you be dragged to the front, you won’t be humiliated for the sake of a gag. This is a show with a heart. If it were a pet, it would definitely be a kitten: sweet, fluffy, and adorable, but with bright eyes that sparkle with intelligence. Despite being something of a hardened cynic, I still had a tear in my eye by the end (but that might also have had something to do with glugging down of a glass of wine a little too early in the evening).
I only have minor grumbles. I did wonder whether some of the gags, like the frantic search for an extension lead, went on a little too long and risked becoming repetitive. But criticizing this show feels a bit like clubbing a baby seal or kicking a kitten.
At the risk of sounding cheesy, this really is a Fringe show which will please kids and grown-ups alike. “Memories of a Mute” offers more than just clowning around: it’s a fun yet affecting theatrical experience.