Heather and Harry

Thu 16th – Mon 27th August 2018


Thomas Pymer

at 23:28 on 19th Aug 2018



On the one hand, Heather and Harry is funny, well-choreographed and thoughtful. From the moment the audience enter, a strong atmosphere is created with music. This same music, along with dance and comedy are woven together throughout the performance to create a piece which is comic and touching.

Every member of the cast – from actresses/dancers Grace Church and Chloe Young to musician Laila Woozeer to the lighting staff – were directly involved in the performance. There was continual participation between all four, as the characters demanded certain music or lighting changes, or got annoyed at the technical team’s attempts to influence the story, or Woozeer got involved in the acting with some excellent facial expressions.

It was also funny. It was ridiculously overacted to the level of being hammy and pantomime-esque, but this just made it funnier. There were silly voices, exaggerated characterisation and over-the-top movements, all of which aided a strong comic element. The relentless laughter from the audience was proof enough.

However, one wonders if the comedic devices of choice occasionally ended up detracting from the performance rather than adding to it. The overacting was fun, but it did detract from the impact as well. There were some comedic attempts that slightly let it down, such as an overtly sexual sequence (dampening the pantomime air), and occasional deliberate slip-ups between the actresses and their technical support. Whilst these were meant to be funny, it often seemed as if the performance was genuinely slipping up and the performers were trying to cover. Yet it is worth emphasising that these were the exception rather than the rule.

The ultimate message is slightly clichéd. It is communicated astoundingly well, the monologues with which Church and Young delivered their character perspectives on mortality and love were well-delivered, but they were somewhat whimsical. Arguably, this detracted from the impact.

That said, whimsy isn't necessarily such a bad thing. There is a strong sense in which the simplicity of the message is part of its strength. It is uncommon that a play has such a consistent air of optimism. 'Heather and Harry' focuses on kindness and encourages the audience to think about how more things could be done; a call to appreciate our own humanity and be nice as a result.

Any criticism I raise is, on the whole, an island of negativity in a sea of positivity. No performer at any point lost their energy – on the contrary, the energy was fantastic. There is no denying 'Heather and Harry’s sheer charm and bubbliness. If you like creative comedies about kindness, it is well worth a watch.


Miles Jackson

at 01:18 on 20th Aug 2018



Graduates of the famed Jacques Lecoq physical theatre school in Paris, Chloe Young and Grace Church are a pair of artists that utilise miming, clowning and singing to create vivid environments and absurdly silly characters onstage. Their latest production, 'Heather and Harry', is an earnest and loving parody of myth and musical that - despite an occasional repetitiveness and conventional storyline - serves as a charming display of their talents.

Functioning as a kind of cabaret rendition of Wings of Desire, the play follows an immortal being, Heather, that lives above the clouds with the god Zeus until she is thrust down into present-day London, where she meets and falls in love with a lonely man named Harry.

Both actors hurl themselves into their respective characters, Young adopting an absurdly clipped posh accent and a gliding gait as Heather. Meanwhile, Church takes on a multitude of different accents and personalities as Zeus, Harry and several others - expertly differentiating each one from the next. What is most impressive about the two actors’ performances, however, is the way in which they employ physical theatre and movement to create the illusion of environments around them. Whether they're rowing on the Thames, marching through a storm or bobbing along on the Tube, the two superbly utilise their bodies in order to create a rich, lucid world on an otherwise sparsely occupied stage.

Equally entertaining as the two performers is the soundtrack, created by Laila Woozeer who performs songs on the keyboard at the side of the stage while providing backing vocals and occasional deadpan interjections (“Should’ve practiced that dance routine!” she chides the two performers at one point). The songs are sweet and easy on the ears, ensuring that the show is never derailed by the moments where the story loses momentum, lapsing into rote repetition.

Heather and Harry is a short and sweet tale of love that utilises an age-old story and puts an amusing modern spin on it. Whilst its sugary ending isn’t especially profound, it’s a fun little show that - despite its slightness - functions as an impressive showcase of talent from all involved.


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