Can I Help You?

can-i-help-you?

Omnibus Theatre, Clapham (venue)

05 March 2020 (released)

10 March 2020

Set late at night, on a windy clifftop edge, two strangers, Francis (Gabriel Vick) and Fifi (Susan Aderin) stumble into each other’s lives. Both are dealing with their own troubles, but Francis’s desperation is more immediate – a policeman whose professional and personal issues have driven him to contemplating suicide. As he stands at the very edge, Fifi turns up, setting up her picnic chair and introducing an uplifting, comedic presence to an otherwise dark setting.

What then unravels is a compelling portrayal of each character’s lonely childhoods and traumatic pasts, amplified through the well-timed flashbacks and constantly shifting characterisations. Both Aderin and Vick offer an effortless and captivating image of grief and humour. They cover a lot of ground, moving between recent relationship disputes to deep-rooted family trauma and adapting seamlessly between scenes. Throughout the play their stories interweave, and they develop a touching connection, one that is surprising yet realistically displayed.

The portrayal of multiple memories and flashbacks create a somewhat disjointed storyline, whereby the plot doesn’t clearly evolve or progress. Nevertheless, Vick’s and Aderin’s acting is clear and captivating, and Osment’s play goes a long way to highlighting the pain and grief of two people living through traumatic (yet common) experiences.

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