Aug 14-27 (17:05)
The small venue (downstairs at Assembly Roxy) soon filled; there was a tall blond woman with her back to us, she turned around and began to address us as if giving a lecture at some grand conference, gesticulating with her hands and staring with a strange expression deep beyond the slope of seats in front of her – present but somehow elsewhere too. This was Kate Kennedy, writer and performer, making an immediate impact on the audience and using that remarkable solo voice to carry as complete a play as you’re likely to see
Taking on the character of Una, Kate talked a little about the woman’s world of childbirth and tummy pains, pivotal to the plot, though I didn’t quite catch on to that straight away. The point was that Kate – Una – had been anointed as a Superhero, starting at the bottom rung of the ladder, and tasked with using her gut feelings to pick out friend from foe, truth from lie, guilt from innocence. Her whole demeanour changed as she hunched (hence the title) and drew power from her own intuitive hunches, from the gut – this is her superhero power. We saw her in various characters, in repeated domestic scenes. As a minister, she leaned on a desk placing two palms flat on the table and speaking abruptly and with deep doubt. As Hunch she ignored the doubt – it didn’t matter. All that mattered was the people she would help as the hero; at least in deciding the direction it was her fate to give – was it a fate earned or inherited?
The intertwining of hilarious threads drove us on magically, leaving no stone left unturned by her. She wore a red pant suit looking modern in style and threw her thunderous voice; able to fill the room, then shrank back to Una who was by then beginning to disappear. Across the set she bounded as her super hero status again arose when they cranked up her clearance level. She juggled quickly between her characters. She threw her hands up in a salute as she declared, once and for all, that she was indeed a super hero. But she was just as expressive, explosive and humble in her silences.
This play is both completely baffling and yet made perfect sense as it drew together an apparently fragmented string of scenes into one organic whole, with all the loose ends tied up – in the end it is great storytelling, very well done. We learn that for the hero to rise we must first separate them from their previous self, leaving it aside. We are inspired and moved by the hero’s passion and concern and the need to act with free abandon in the spirit of the superhero. It is an exhilarating show to witness.