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6th Jul, 2022

REVIEW: 'Oh, She Was a Hypercube' shines at Green Man Festival

Malvern Editorial 22nd Aug, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

LEE Farley, the Observer’s entertainment reviewer, delivers his verdict on ‘Oh, She Was a Hypercube’ created by Malvern’s John Bannister, and provides an insight into the Green Man Festival in Wales where it was performed last weekend.

Green Man Festival is rooted in the landscape of the Brecon Beacons.

It’s family-run and independent so there’s no sponsorship deals or depressingly familiar event branding.

In the twelve years since the first one, its connection to folk music, Welsh culture and the Green Man mythology has not been left behind as the site has expanded and more people have bought into the vibe.

The festival works hard to maintain a fantastic sense of playfulness and interaction. Wherever you turn there are walkabout theatre performers, cooperative games and activities and inventive uses of the space.

‘Oh, She Was a Hypercube’ fits into the theme perfectly. I was looking forward to seeing how the apparently unrelated elements of puppetry, mathematical concepts and heartbreak worked together and I came away entertained, educated and engaged.

John gets his audience on his side early, he admits he’s nervous and asks us for energy and support to help him out.

He introduces his subject matter – the intricacies of how his mind reacted to a relationship break-up – and explains clearly some complex maths concepts.

If, like me, you find maths tricky to follow, John is good at giving examples to help you out and has brought along a flip-book to illustrate his major theme of the fourth dimension.

The puppetry aspect brings a volunteer to the stage to animate a slice of bread to demonstrate how dimensions work.

Both times the show was performed, John’s audience became increasingly drawn into his energetic and charismatic style – he’s enthusiastic but this is not a lecture, it’s theatrical, fun and smart.

We’re all trying to make sense of our lives however we can and even if hypercubes don’t feature in your own analysis, John’s honesty and vulnerability is universal.

Green Man has hundreds of these intimate, interactive moments around the site – Worcester’s own Clik Clik Collective bring communal games and music to the party atmosphere, National Theatre of Wales tell a three-day evolving story about female empowerment which is rooted in the woods surrounding the site.

Wherever you look in Einstein’s Garden there are children looking through telescopes, building skeletons or playing God with cell structures.

Even the bands, sometimes very serious and earnest at this Festival, embraced the fun and community.

Mac Demarco grins like a fool when crowd surfing and stage diving from the tent posts, Jeffrey Lewis brings his entertaining slide show to his set and even the devastating heartbreak of Mark Kozolek’s music is leavened by his between-songs jokes.

The Pooh Sticks hand placards to the crowd with indie-pop slogans. Everyone, it seems, has come to play.

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