"A perfect sliver of hope"
by Owen Kingston for remotegoat on 26/01/17

Building Relationships is the sort of undiscovered gem that a reviewer longs to find. Humbly produced in a two-night run at the Etcetera, this little one-woman show begins innocuously enough. Angela Harvey plays Rita, a 'timid, boring old maid' who survives day to day by taking in washing, but what begins as a fairly mundane one-sided conversation with her off-stage husband gradually transforms into a moving work of intense beauty, encapsulating profound truths about the state of the nation and the human condition.

In a virtuoso performance Angela Harvey holds the stage, and our rapt attention, for somewhere around an hour entirely alone, as she allows us little by little to enter Rita's captivating world. It is a world populated by little perfect glimpses of observed humanity – the many people who Rita interacts with on a daily basis out of necessity - yet in whose lives she has come to play an integral part. As we discover, they have also had a profound effect on her, and this beautiful tale of the little interactions of daily life and how they add up to such a vast ocean of love and hope in a world so full of grief and pain is not merely the perfect antidote to the January blues, it is a vital and necessary message in a socially and politically hopeless world.

Angela Harvey's performance is superb, but the real star of the show is the writing. Susie Pottinger has captured a perfect sliver of hope in a theatrical landscape populated by vogue despair. This small, contained, beautifully observed story of communal survival says far more about the state of the nation, far more elegantly, than most plays written by better known playwrights over the last decade. This is a writer whose voice needs to be heard by a much larger audience.

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