An engaging performance from an artist named Hannah Butterfield showed us what we all take for granted; the daily drudgery of commuting, toing and froing to the same places at the same times, the routine and regiment of journeys. This concept was explored in a fun and enjoyable way through ‘21,000 Miles of Rail’.
Utilising the audience as additional characters in the performance, we were transported (literally) from the railway station waiting room through a journey of carriages, lives and connections by our railway experiences. The suggestion of familiarity with each of the audience, although a little strange at first, built the performance as we, the viewer, became more confident in the engagement eventually positively seeking eye contact to be the next link in the chain of carriages.
Clever use of the Manchester ‘metro’ newspaper ‘rush hour crushes’ and ‘thank yous’ created recognition for all; reading the snippets whilst whiling away time; secretly thinking it could be about me, or someone I know. Nicely presented monologues and elements of song and dance created a multi faceted performance, even down to the toy train on the track gently chugging along whilst Hannah completed a modern dance routine: twisting and tumbling, jumping and leaping across and around the tracks.
The character created for me was the teen, head phones in, oblivious to the world at large, wrapped up in my bubble of music from ‘The 1975’, gently head nodding and toe tapping. She chose well, almost as if she knew me. My character missed the rail announcements and his train. Sounds familiar!
An all round enjoyable performance with a mix of madness and magic to bring the characters alive. Believable and relatable to all who attended.
by Aston Buckley as part of the Young Producer program
’21 Thousand Mile of Rail’ by Hannah Butterfield was at M6 Theatre Company, Rochdale in October 2016