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Helen Duff: Lullabies 4.5**** - One4Review

Helen Duff: Lullabies 4.5****

| On 15, Aug 2023

One of the things art can be is transformative. The artist collects things or absorbs influences and experiences or assembles objects, then ruminates or percolates or remixes them, along with their own particular contribution, and returns to the world a something which is somehow both all of the original things and something entirely new and unique. Ms Duff’s songs might superficially be daft little nursery rhymes about socks and frogs, but they were also works of art developed in real time: Ms Duff took our childhood memories and transformed them into something both new and more. My frogs were second, I knew what was coming, and I was still both surprised and delighted.

This is not my first Helen Duff show, and while she’s as effervescent as ever, she also seems more grounded, and that is perhaps because of her experience of early-motherhood, around which this show is built. Helen manages to convey the multiplicity of emotions in that experience, but she does nothing so crass as tell us about it with words, it comes through in the changes in tone and the delivery and the songs and in the oblique sideways references, like telling us about the development of short stories in World War Two. It’s as if early-motherhood is such a massive thing that you can only properly approach it in reflections and refractions.

Ms Duff’s also got a lovely way with the audience, who she does talk to and involve, but she’s gentle with it, so it generally feels safe. And alongside all of that arty stuff, the show is also enjoyable – not laugh a minute, but enough laughter (in the mix with lots of other emotions) to keep the energy going. If you miss it this time round, put it on your list for next year.

Reviewed by Laura

Monkey Barrel Hive
16:45 (1hr)
14th – 16th

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