Theatre Review: LET ME COUNT THE WAYS – Waterside Arts, Sale

Messy, profound, unapologetic, and real, LET ME COUNT THE WAYS commands your attention.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Inspired by Elizbeth Barret Browning’s Sonnet 43, LET ME COUNT THE WAYS is a spoken word solo show written by and starring promising performer, Maz Hedgehog. What is it about? Well, LET ME COUNT THE WAYS is Hedgehog laid bare for their audience. It is the most intimate and delicate moments of their life, interspersed with romantic fairytale metaphor and disorienting sound.

As a performer, Hedgehog is exquisitely unapologetic, exposing the most intricate and messy parts of themself with unfathomable grace. Their delivery is both eloquent and expressive, commanding your attention. As a writer, they have skilfully crafted a poetic and honest intersectional exploration of their identity. They open up even the smallest of moments, examining them and giving voice to even the most inexpressible of feelings. They weave tangled, intricate webs with their language; though at times the paths they lead us down are so tangled that we cannot always follow. It seems as though Hedgehog finds themself caught up in the moment, racing ahead, and momentarily, their vision is lost on us as we try to catch up to them.

Nevertheless, what makes LET ME COUNT THE WAYS so unique in the world of spoken word is that it is both contemporary and traditional in its language. Hedgehog has expertly combined the old, romantic sentiments of the Victorian poets and our modern ideals of self-love and compassion. They effortlessly blend the timeless picturesque language of poets such as Browning with the plosive, powerful rhythm that we have come to associate with the modern spoken word.

What is perhaps most impressive about Hedgehog’s performance is their commitment despite the size of the audience. Although last night’s turnout was undeservedly small, Hedgehog’s dedication to giving their entire self to their audience did not waver. Their emotion and intensity was palpable, with Hedgehog taking full advantage of the intimate setting to further connect with their audience.

No matter your experience, you can find a part of yourself in LET ME COUNT THE WAYS. Hedgehog promises you at the beginning of the show that you will find yourself seen and understood in their performance, and this is a promise upheld. But ultimately, this is about their experience. It is about understanding, but also wanting to be understood; and Hedgehog wants us to understand every part of them – what it means to be black, what it means to be queer, what it means to be experienced as female.

LET ME COUNT THE WAYS is Max Hedgehog’s rose-petalled explosion onto the stage. By no means a newcomer – having founded their own theatre company, Ink & Curtain – Hedgehog is certainly no stranger to the stage. But this is them allowing us to see them exactly as they are – messy, profound, unapologetic, and real.

LET ME COUNT THE WAYS runs at Waterside Arts, Sale