The Best Thing was the phrase that was constantly thrown at young women. ‘It’s the best thing for the baby, it’s the best thing for you; sign here.’ The Best Thing dives into the 1960s, charting the journey of a young woman whose life is changed irrevocably after vinyl records and rock and roll finds her along with a trendy young man. A fan of The Beatles and the like, we see this young lady, who we can hazard at being in her late teens, living life like most of us did during this period of time. She listens to unbearably loud music (for her father), she rolls up her skirt and gets immediately reprimanded, and apart from the usual parental disputes she is portrayed as a happy fun-loving girl.
The performers are skilled at enacting the story through their interactions with one another and their individual body language. A comical scene unfolds when the daughter is being ‘told’ by her father to unroll her skirt several times before she proceeds to ‘ask’ him for money, to which he relents whilst vexing over the bills.
The story takes a tragic turn when the young girl falls pregnant. Then we are shown a darker side of the 60s, where the father coerces our heroine into signing away her newborn baby. A religious man, the pressures of the church and society must have weighed on him, which captures the heart of this tale. The heartbroken girl then leaves her father forever unable to go on, only to meet him many years later by chance at a funeral it seems. The story is presented using flashbacks which are shown whilst present events unfold. It is an intelligent method and works extremely well on stage.
I did not know what to expect, never having watched a mime show before. It is an astonishing experience, I laugh and I cry, whilst not a single word is spoken on stage. Apart from a few moments of confusion when perhaps it is not entirely clear what is being shown, the performance is very well executed. I raise my plastic cup of wine to the performers; they are able to convey a deeply moving topic without words or facial expressions but through the power of body language and with a little help from an excellent soundtrack. 4.5/5
Review written by Prerna Prasad.
The Best Thing was shown at Jacksons Lane Theatre from Thursday 28th until Sunday 31st January 2016 as part of this year’s London International Mime Festival. For more information on the production, visit here…