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Last night I had the pleasure of previewing Kate Kennedy’s new Edinburgh Fringe show Hunch in the Soho Theatre - Upstairs. This was the first of two previews, and what a success it was.
The one-hour, one-woman show is written and performed by Kennedy, and evidently this newcomer is one to watch. Her fantastic use of multi-rolling and characterisation had me gripped throughout. Kennedy plays about 15 different characters all in all, moving seamlessly from one to the next. The dialogue and storyline are crafted excellently. Kennedy has taken what seems like a ludicrous idea for a play and crafted it into something clever, witty and, at some moments, incredibly moving.
Her previous work has included playing the role of Helena in the BBC’s 2016 adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a variety of theatre credits, and in 2014 she won the UK’s Monologue slam (as both performer and writer).
Kennedy has stated that the play was inspired by 2016, what she describes as “the shittiest of years.” It is about decision making, responsibility and priorities, its about how to ensure the world keeps turning after a tragedy. When the play starts it seems to be all fun and games, Kennedy’s characters have you roaring with laughter. However, as the play unfolds, the dark undertones kick in. It really makes you think and turns out to be surprisingly heart-felt and thought-provoking.
The intimate space of Soho Theatre’s Upstairs room worked very well. With limited seating, the audience gets to go on an incredibly personal journey with Kennedy. As we enter the room, she is already on stage pacing up and down. The audience chatter away, but for those of us watching on our own, we immediately connect with Kennedy. It almost felt like no one else was in the room. It was just the two of us. And then, the door shuts, the lights change, and the journey begins.
Funny, charming, witty, and clever are the words I would use to describe this play. It is a masterclass in how to create a one-woman show. Not only is the writing genius, Kennedy’s performance is outstanding. She is effortlessly talented. First night nerves played a part for sure, but why wouldn’t they? This was the first time Kennedy had performed this play and she did an excellent job. It can’t be easy remembering all of those lines but she got through the performance with grace and ease.
Hunch has its last preview at the Soho Theatre tonight (24th July) before transferring to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on the 1st–12th August and then again from the 14th–27th August, where it will be performed downstairs at the Assembly Roxy. I urge every single one of you to see this play, it will have you laughing and crying all at the same time, and Kate Kennedy is a real one to watch.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival takes place from the 3rd–27th August, It is the best place for emerging new talent, other events taking place can be found here.
The Soho Theatre is also a fantastic venue. Based on Dean Street in London, it hosts a variety of plays, comedy and cabaret and has a real passion for nurturing new writers and talent. If you haven’t been to see something there before, I suggest you do. All upcoming shows and information about the venue can be found here.
So if you’re around in Edinburgh, I strongly suggest you get tickets to Hunch.