As this exciting online festival draws to a close, I’m pleased I caught this forty minute monologue written and performed by Skye Hallam. Like my other recommendations, Heads or Tails is an easy to praise four star show.
Hallam’s scenario is simple; her character Steph is a young woman visiting earth after her death. The achievement is to tackle the subject matter without being morbid. The jokes are good and the asides to camera sweet. The piece is funny and charming as well as thought-provoking.
As Steph dishes “insider knowledge” about the afterlife, plenty of topics are touched on. Idiosyncratic ideas about God (her name is Helen) and heaven are full of whimsy. Far from coherent, indeed occasionally rambling, I did wonder if Steph could be more confused about her trip back to earth. But Hallam has written a vivid character whose enthusiasm is contagious and performs her creation with endearing style.
Of course, it is what Heads or Tails tells us about life that’s really interesting. Here the effective characterisation works well. Try as we might to avoid that ‘M’(illennial) word, Hallam has sketched an interesting portrait of a demographic. Steph becomes an effective study: full of anxiety, checking her privilege, “outsourcing” her mental health and ever conscious of social media likes.
Steph’s concerns add an edge to the show that ensures we pause for thought. She may try to reassure us about heaven but how happy was she on earth? There’s clearly plenty of scope for elaboration. It’s easy to see how Hallam could flesh out Steph (her life and her generation) further so that this show’s theatrical afterlife surely has potential.
Until 22 February 2021