Total Eclipse Review - Reading Fringe

The great thing about Reading Fringe Festival is that there is so much going on, you really are spoiled for choice. The flip side of that though is that there is so much going on, most of us will have to make tough decisions about which of the many shows we'll dedicate our spare time to.

One show which caught my eye was Moving Pieces' Total Eclipse because it claims to be "a conversation about grief". How, I wondered could anyone make an interesting piece of theatre that would keep my attention about such a sombre topic?

I can honestly say that I still don't know how they did it but they did. The wonderful duo behind this play manage to combine eccentricity with comedy and raw emotion to deliver a truly captivating piece. With the show dedicated to both of the actors' mothers, I can only surmise that they've drawn on the reality of their own grief to pull this off.

Jose Parra's comedic timing and characterful facial expressions, combined with Charlie Blowers' ethereal ability to glide about the stage lend a totally unique feel to this performance.

A particularly touching moment is when Lily (Blowers) desperately asks her (deceased) mother what she should do with her life. Anyone who has lost their mother will recognise this sentiment and it's a question I've been silently shouting out to my own mother for the past 18.5 years.

They're not so twee as to pretend their mothers were perfect though, with Paco (Parra) refusing to discuss how his mother's own troubled upbringing impacted his.

Poignant moments such as these punctuate this powerful play and really make you realise that you are not alone.

It's well-worth watching but take some tissues if you're of a naturally tearful disposition!

Samantha Bessant, Independent Reading

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