Sofie Hagen: Shimmer Shatter | Review by Steve Bennett
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Sofie Hagen: Shimmer Shatter

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Steve Bennett

Sofie Hagen saves all her goodies until the end… you don’t really know where all her anecdotes are leading until the coda after the bucket speech asking for donations. Before that more satisfying denouement, Shimmer Shatter seems like a couple of loose, enjoyable personal stories, replete with digressions, but not yet amounting to a show.

The follow up to her best-newcomer-winning debut is a look into how she forms – or rather doesn’t form – healthy relationships with people, especially romantic ones. It started, she said, when she was a child bride. And her husband was a bit of wood. That’s probably a relatively common bit of childhood fantasy play-acting, but she considered it noteworthy enough to peg a lifetime of insecurity issues onto. But it’s not quite the only time it feels like she’s overstating an event’s significance to fit a narrative.

If we were to look for a root cause of her insecurities, it would probably be the abandonment issues triggered by her estranged dad, a strong villain character here. Meanwhile the other story is that three years ago Hagen fell in love with a dreamer man who thinks the world is alive with so many possibilities, that could include dragons. His sappiness appeals to her uncynical romantic side, and certainly contrasts with the militant atheist activists she also encounters, as intrinsically awful as any fundamentalists.

Hagen has the skills and the smiley charm to get the audience to invest in this story, so its dramatic pivot has quite the impact, although it’s really the only time in the bulk of the show where there is a satisfying plot twist, contributing to a general lack of urgency over the hour.

The meandering narrative is more a backdrop to her vocalising her chronically introverted feelings, feeling more secure in a cubicle rather than emerging into a world of unpredictable interactions. Its the strongest of the analogies that effectively express her inner feelings of depression and anxiety, for which she sought professional help, and is key to the ultimate pays off.

Her strange personality includes confessing an obsession with murderer Ed Gein – he who inspired the name of a Fringe sketch group, and who is definitely NOT A SERIAL KILLER, as Hagen is keen to point out. She feels awkward with sex,too, as her amusingly inappropriate idea of foreplay attests. ‘I don’t do fun,’ she says of her offstage self, despite her cheeky grin on it. For in the spotlight she comes alive, because here she can control the conversation.

Shimmer Shatter paints a frank portrait of her neuroses, and even if some of the yarns she spins could be more dramatically compelling, the honesty and the eloquence win through. If she could be as charming as this in social situations, she’d have no problems. Or no show

Review date: 18 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Liquid Room Annexe

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