London Fringe 2018: HOUSE – An On-the-Ball Performance of Verbal Surrealism

By Jay Menard,

Daniel MacIvor’s HOUSE, as performed by Jon Paterson, is a show that is at once extremely compact and incredibly expansive. It is a show that both is perfectly confined by TAP Centre for Creativity stage, but demands a release of its boundless energy. It’s exhausting, uplifting, depressing, and enervating — all at once.

The show can be described as a manic ballet of verbal surrealism that all takes place within a two-square-foot area. Paterson rarely strays from his simple chair in the middle of the stage. A single white spotlight illuminates him and, even in his brief forays breaking the fourth wall, the audience is drawn into the intimacy of the performance.

It’s a one man show on a small scale, but Paterson brings in multiple characters, each with their own verbal style, idiosyncrasies, and tics — all within the confines of that chair. He switches from story to story, from fantasy to reality (to perceived reality?) all within a fraction of a second.

And just when you feel you have a handle on the narrative — just when you think you’ve got a comfortable tether upon which to hold, he snatches it away and draws you further in.

It’s an awesome display of physical and verbal talent — and you’re left walking away from this HOUSE with questions that will follow you all the way home.

This review originally appeared on

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