REVIEW: Small Mouth Sounds
Small Mouth Sounds
Reviewed by Carmella Winter
Small Mouth Sounds is a witty comedy, executed with life and enthusiasm. The story takes place in a meditation retreat, and when our six participants take a vow of silence, they have to survive the next few days without the most human means of communication: words.
In the opening scene of the show, we hear the voice that runs the meditation retreat. The voiceover is supposed to be the powerful force instilling inner peace, reflection and enlightenment. Aside from being hilariously out of touch with reality, it is prone to emotional outbursts when its attempts to control the participants fail. This had the audience in fits of laughter, especially as it became increasingly evident that the voice had no idea or plan for the following days of the program.
In one scene, we see one of the characters step up to the microphone for one of the ‘Q&A’ nights at the resort. He ends up telling his life story (after specifically being instructed not to) and as it becomes more and more comically tragic, he starts emotionally breaking down about the impending end of the world due to climate change, and he forgets his question. This is one of the best scenes in the show.
The characters occasionally snap and break the vow of silence; they get angry, sad, fight, yell, exclaim and get fed up. As an audience member, it's like having a window into a real place, full of complex, flawed people. They are vivid, animated and hilarious. The chaotic, performative city runaway and the peaceful yoga instructor begin an affair, until the yoga instructor silently puts his wedding band back on in the middle of a group meeting. Chaos ensues.
All interactions between characters are realistic, and flow well. It’s primarily a silent performance, and where we do see dialogue and communication between characters, it’s effective and sharp.
Small Mouth Sounds is described as an ‘uplifting comedy’, but the solid narrative and complete characters make it a memorable and unique piece.