Even though we know the worst is coming somehow we take the decision to carry on and for that, we should be proud. This is the message of YESYESNONO’s latest performance piece once again written and performed by the mesmerising Sam Ward. Ward frames the collective storytelling around Richard Russell, a baggage handler from Seattle, who stole an empty Alaskan Airlines aircraft before crashing onto a near-deserted island, imagining his motives, thoughts and choices that brought him to that moment. The play questions where stories start and where they are ultimately going, emphasising the inevitable yet reassuring insignificance of the world around us. 

Ward extrapolates his storytelling to predict what the audience will be doing minutes, hours and years after the performance concludes. Whether they be watching a documentary about bees,  climbing the steps of a lighthouse, or rekindling a romance in mini-fridge showroom 200 metres  below the surface. It is near impossible to convey Ward’s style of interweaving narrative  accurately but with regular, clever and gentle audience participation it is magnetic.  

It is impossible not to trust in Ward’s performance. He appears honest and authentic as he guides us through the sections, continually checking in to see if we want to know what happens next. He is a cooly, confident hypnotic preacher with graceful and caring timbre and movement that allows us to feel safe, even healed, despite the looming realities of the outside world - a master in his art. 

Supporting the performance and script is a cosmic sound design from Carmel Smickersgill.  Interspersed with the radio calls from Richard Russell, Smickersgill’s design ensures the piece ebbs and flows, crescendoing in all the right moments. Like with the rest of the production it is clever and complex, adding subtle details to build the strange, comfortable world we have found ourselves in.  

Having seen previous productions from YESYESNONO, I can confidently say that this is their best yet. We were promised honey has an outer-worldly power to stop time and force you to examine the past, present and future of your own story. A must-see. 

It runs until 3 December.

Review: Henry Longstaff        Photo:  Mihaela Bodlovic