It Only Takes A Minute
Production Photo: David Abrahams
Tom Rowntree-Finlay and Anna Kyle's It Only Takes A Minute, directed by the former and starring the latter, is as much about Take That as a "take that" to the stigma surrounding Asperger's Syndrome.
It is thorough and mostly taut, diligent but never didactic in breaking down and opening up the mental and physical state of someone who can only find solace in the sole pop group and sole family member she truly loved.
"Sole" is certainly the word for Aspie Kyle as on-stage Aspie Michelle, who replays and remembers the events from her 1990s youth which led to her diagnosis as a one-woman show.
She paces around in her bedroom, designed by Blain Fitzpatrick as a colourful "shrine" to Take That with posters of the group everywhere. Singing several of their hits, imagining all five of them as her closest friends and planning visits to her grandmother are all comforting as routine yet also dangerously isolating for Michelle. Adults don't, or choose not to, understand her, while her "friends" at school seem to be adapting to their early teenage years much more easily.
Her struggle rings absolutely true. Rowntree-Finlay's relaxed, dedicated direction sprinkles a serious subject with a lightly amusing touch, using a solitary mind to present skilful contrasts of societal actions and thoughts with verve and sensitivity. Kyle's especially interesting face is the ideal foil for the passionately portrayed Michelle - she starkly convinces as someone genuinely unprepared for the damaging effects of a remotely unnatural environment.
A C21 Theatre Production, It Only Takes A Minute runs at Belfast's MAC until Saturday November 10, with matinees on Thursday and Friday and a Q & A on Thursday. For more information, click here.