• Sara Lamerton

The Ladder Review: Life, Death and Everything In Between.

The Ladder in The Drum until Saturday 28th September 2019.

Let’s talk about life, death, and everything in between…..

If life really does flash in front of our eyes before we exit stage left, I wonder what moments would make the cut. Perhaps those that have left us angry, our great triumphs, our loves and losses, our regrets and what-if’s all laid out before us in the blink of an eye as the curtain closes on our story for the final time. And what about the things we’d change: almost certainly what we’ve left unsaid or unresolved, those things festering under the surface that, if we were to be truly honest with ourselves, facing them would make our time here a more wholehearted and rewarding one.

Of course everyone has these to some extent; we are only human, and thus, by design, flawed. But, at the same time, capable of amazing creation, reflection and growth like no other species. And talking of species, did you know that 200 go extinct each day? No, neither did I.

Hugh Hughes and Daniel Hughes conclude Hoipolloi’s The Loose Change Trilogy with a metaphor laden, generation travelling, dissection of human nature. In part inspired by the global movement set in motion by one young woman, Greta Thunberg, The Ladder cleverly weaves a strong and poignant message about the power of change, of removing our heads from the sand, about the things that matter on a global scale, and how this is a microcosm for our individual existences.

Their admiration for Greta’s fiercely inspiring journey is apparent. Using her story to springboard from and harness both moments of comic genius and authentic personal compassion for the complexity of our existence, The Ladder chips away at something that can often by its very nature be a tumultuous relationship, that of father and son.

Hugh and Daniel both ooze charisma and have amazing chemistry on stage together. Delving deep into how we each wield the ‘spanner’ of power over one another, and how we think we’re in control, but simultaneously are often manipulated and controlled to others’ agendas, they use political and social examples from the past and present day to highlight the effects and repercussions of these agendas and decisions. Jeremy Kyle even makes an appearance. I know, Kyle and Thunberg in the same breath sounds ridiculous and it is, but it works so very well.

The show regularly interjects back with snippets from Greta’s book and questions displayed for the audience on a large screen, but you never feel like you’re being lectured or patronised, rather nudged into a more conscious direction that could have repercussions expanding beyond this one evening.

If the human experience was simple, we wouldn’t be graced with performances such as The Ladder whose overwhelming message is one of hope, one of support, and one of compassion for ourselves and each other. Imploring us to stop turning a blind eye to the things right in front of us, Hugh concludes that we haven’t reached the end of our ladders just yet; that we have time to change, to reverse the fate of humanity both collectively and individually. So what’s stopping us?

And let's face it, who doesn't like to be greeted by cute cows?

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