A Strange Wild Song by Rhum and Clay – a review 

The Rhum and Clay Theatre Company use their considerable skills in physical theatre to tell the touching story of an American soldier, lost in a ruined French village, who befriends three children amongst the rubble.

Loosely based on the work of Belgian photographer Leon Giepel, the pathos of images left to us by history is wrought through a dual timescale, with each member of the company playing two roles. Peter Wiedmann does an excellent job of anchoring the production as grandfather and grandson, while the other members of the company skilfully switch from clowning to caricature. Cleverly mirroring the relationship between children and adults, the same actors are both playful young boys, and detached modern day historians. With haunting musical accompaniment from Leila Woozeer and really imaginative staging, the company manages to evoke two completely different worlds bound together by mute images.

Although some of the choreographed set pieces outstay their welcome – one can’t help thinking the original one hour version was sharper and more focused – the play is nonetheless consistently engaging. Without lapsing into tired cliché, Rhum and Clay tell a simple, intimate story that reverberates way beyond the confines of its narrative.
By David Vass