OJS revolution

University of Worcester graduate Tisa Klicek brings revolution down to size

Pocket-sized Revolution

Old Joint Stock


Can Revolutions really be ‘Pocket-sized’? Well, apparently yes, it can be as tiny as you like, according to this unusual, original, pint-sized show stitched together and presented with flair by Tisa Klicek.

‘Though of (one gathers) Croatian descent (alluding to herself as ‘migrant’) Tisa is as British as you and I, and so there is not a hint – and why should there be? - a whisper of curious or puzzling accent. It’s all clear, even when she – sometimes tiresomely – drops her voice.

In this her woman show she works well with an intimate audience. Here the spectators were somewhat pocket-sized too – around 20 – but in many ways that helped her, and them. It enabled her to introduce subtle touches that a large gathering of – one might almost say – fans or devotees might not always but generally pick up, Her cheerfulness, and periodic puzzledness, clearly won her a cheerful cluster of avid and zealous admirers. In that respect, well done.

If they were so wholehearted, there must have been reasons. What were they? Her publicity dubs her ‘playful’ – she was more than that – with elements of comedy and physical theatre. Indeed she is all of those. Although ‘nail-biting’ seems perhaps a bit of a misnomer.

She also summarises it as a ‘car-crashing, revolution-making show’. And its compact 50 minutes certainly summon up, in turn, both those. Essentially it’s a two-parter.

Starting from a mime sequence, which at least one observer found hilarious, and she has gifts in this respect, although they needed much more variation, she goes on to prove she has many assets. She writes and now dangles in front of us her own crafted script. She is unremittingly comic – sharp-witted, and sly, cheeky and waggish. At one moment she sparkles, and glistens, and knows just how to tickle her audience; and her text does the same, though occasionally it feels a bit limp.

She is indeed animated and bubbly as she shares with us her droll story, or to use that dreadful word, narrative. That divides – as her title says - into two parts, which intertwine. Right at the start, she confides to us that she has had a car prang, running some unfortunate innocent over, a mishap which has happily not caused a fatality, but does lead to a very attractive growing and welcome relationship with her unwitting victim (she is Lucy, he is John; she subsequently dates him).

That puts not just him into hospital, mending, but her, too, dallying with time to spare in the nearby waiting room. It’s here that she conjures up the wheeze of inaugurating a revolution – against what, she’s not sure, but her texting, versatility and adroitness on social media yields her, to her delight, 170 willing to participate, 250 contemplating it and, well, just three declining.

Tisa Klicek

 Tisa Klicek 

And many of these she’s able to talk to on a somewhat vision loopy screen. Her optimism, however, being offset by a number of queries that throw her. Like: ‘What’s it for?’ Ready answers are not, or only just, to hand. That provides a jolly, appealing sequence. Her joyous optimism crumbles into rotten, unkind disappointment.

Tisa is certainly entertaining. She has her own individualistic ways of taking and keeping her audience with her. Hence she is persuasive. She is inventive, imaginative and her little saga – to a degree – involving. She has oomph, has the guts to get out there and try her slightly romantic yarn out, is word perfect, a vigorous and assertive performer. And she’s certainly fun.

When her plans are in action, she is amusingly anxious. She worries and frets, and we can well understand. Oh help, will she go to jail? We’re on her side; or supposedly so.

The question, or my question, is – does she deliver a sufficient plot, storyline, to make a meaningful as well as clever dramatic piece? And are the means she deploys really that funny? The mime and its gestures she invokes – and she has the potential to make much more variety of it, are somewhat paltry. She charms her watchers into laughter with a teasing facial gesture that grows tediously repetitive. Her moves – limited here, to be fair - by constricted space, are, well, not up to much. She poses inquiries to, or towards, her audience; but they too add up to little.

Some of her delivery is quite brisk. That can often help, and it benefits her here. As for her constant pauses, she overloads them, and they gradually have less effect. There are too many; they’re surely too long; and they have increasingly less impact and meaning.  

Bless her, her text is dotted with plums, or at least cherries. ‘Did you know that they say having toothache is worse than giving birth?’ ‘Maybe if I didn’t run him over, we wouldn’t be a couple.’ ‘I just love garlic’. ‘My life wasn’t working more (sympathy here) - my whole life is dependent on other people.’ She’s brilliantly engineered a world first; ‘No one ever started a revolution from a hospital waiting room’. Even the later revelation that her car lights weren’t working at the time makes us giggle.

There are a few dud effects: here and there, a few puzzling noises off; onstage a seriously uninvolving kind of card game with yellow stickers; lights that might be the dreaded police car – although some moderately changing lighting shifts and patterns do work quite nicely.

The slightly dotty, oddball sequence prefaced by ‘I love chocolate. It keeps me calm’ is certainly a successful catalyst, for it gives a chance for one of her most daft, wittily performed and deliciously ludicrous – even extended - sections: as she rumly and urgently fishes around and extracts bar after bar from various items of clothing, the graph actually grows funnier and more hysterical. Some might say those little snippets and confiding fragments, shreds and asides and bits of ingenuity she cleverly squeezes into her text, are almost side-splitting, And obviously for much of the audience’s delight, Lucy – Tisa - carries them off with aplomb.

But one does get the feeling that Pocket-Sized Revolution is in some senses a show, and a performance that is still in the making. That adds up to a play. Her two-halves text (accident, haplessly attempted revolt) needs beefing up more; possibly a lot more. All pieced together, there’s only a scintilla of a plot. You feel there might be – should be – more material. You want it – and her – to succeed. For me, it, and she, only did so far.

Roderic Dunnett


Old Joint Stock      

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