Friday, September 22

I Found My Horn – Riverside Studios

What mark are we leaving? What can provide for sense? Is there anything to give wings to our life?

In this production of I Found My horn, based on the book by Jasper Rees, with direction by Harry Burton and performed by Jonathan Guy Lewis, the audience delves into questions of existential dimension with a kind perspective, and navigating through the difficulties of music, art, and life.

The play starts in an attic overcrowded by objects, many of which are covered by old rags, as if in hiding while waiting for the action to begin. When a hatch opens on the left, letting the light come in, it is as if magic were happening, and the actor were coming from deep beneath the stage. The physical space will barely change during the piece, but we will be taken to different times and spaces, and meet different characters, that will be embodied by Lewis in an astonishing display of accents, voices and corporealities.

The protagonist is Jasper, a 56-year-old man struggling with his divorce, and the sense of meaninglessness in his life. As he must move to a smaller apartment, the feeling of lack of achievements is strong, and rummaging through his all belongings for the moving, he finds his old Czechoslovakian horn, remembers his old days playing as a teenager and is ready to put it away when the horn… starts talking.

Lewis’s performance is a path on its own. If nothing else remained on stage, no lights, no objects, nothing else but him and the horn, the play would probably run equally well. That speaks poorly of the set design, which looks beautifully unnecessary in its abundance. But it means that the play performs well beyond its scenic appearance and transmits the journey of transformation of the character and the performer.

Special highlights are undoubtedly the appearances of all the French horn players and teachers, and their perspectives. Lewis’s character changes become more and more fluent as the play goes on, and what could have seemed a bit awkward at the beginning turns into a comprehensive code for performance. The stylized changes do not impair the sensitive and emotional side of the characters, and Jasper’s hesitations inspire love and sympathy.

Finally, the horn performance at the end of the play could be a piece on its own. The transition through the phases an amateur instrument player would endure are superbly represented with passion and care, being at the same time extremely humorous and interesting.

The play hits well the notes it aims for, and really has a mellifluous flow from beginning to end. A play to see if in need of warmth and encouragement, and also to have a fun time.

Until 11 June,

Reviewer: Gonzalo Sentana

Reviewed: 31st May 2023

North West End Uk Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.