Review: Hatch at Underbelly

After being arrested on suspicion of selling drugs on behalf of her lover, ‘Jess’ is isolated in a prison cell with only her thoughts, or rather her poetry and stunning vocals to carve away at the time. Located in a rather atmospherically dingy venue, performer Sarah Carton’s gig theatre solo broaches themes of abandonment and loneliness with the use of spoken word and song.

Jess’s sensual, almost tranquil vocal tones suffused with frank, sobered spoken word intoxicates the audience and is successful in creating a sombre intimacy. The grit coated poetry richly etches out imagery and textures the piece. With a voice reminiscent to Londoner Katy B, Carton is a very gifted singer. Bathed in pink, glowy hues, her syrupy straight-talking vocals layered with synth add a hedonistic quality. 

Jess transitions from her bed, to her laptop, to her microphone and ultimately the set up of the piece becomes predictable to watch. The gorgeous vocals are welcomed, however, the lulled pace is constant and it would have been interesting for more heightened rhythms and pitches to be introduced as Jess’ situation exacerbates. It must be acknowledged though that her descriptions particularly around her ‘My Guard’ character are poetically humorous and distressing to listen to. Predominantly ambient in gloom, Jess injects doses of humour but the piece would benefit from more frequent shift changes. 

 Hatch is an engrossing performance, strengthened in sorrowful vocals and spoken word. In collaboration with InHouse Records, it is definitely worth experiencing. 

Hatch is at Underbelly, 3.20 pm till August 25th

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