Review by Hannah Knowles
FOLLOWING the success of Catching
Dust, Tangled Feet return to The Pleasance with their latest
work, Lost Property.
The company has stuck faithfully to its stated aim of escaping
‘naturalistic’ drama, choosing to address the subject
of their play, loss, with their trademark combination of sparing
dialogue and bewilderingly athletic physical theatre.
The production opens with a book falling through the ceiling
into the midst of a group of characters wandering around the stage.
Together, they read the pages of the book, which serves as a
prologue, posing a question that many of us have asked about our
missing belongings: ‘Can there be a place where all these
The production offers an answer by creating a world of lost property
supervised by an attendant who attempts to bring a semblance of
order to the chaos he reigns over.
This seems to be an impossible task, with people tumbling in
through the walls, grappling with and leaping over each other
in their increasingly desperate attempts to find what once belonged
In the various scenarios presented to the audience, Katherine,
a mother, searches for her children in a school; Ryan, a teacher
at the school, looks for the photo that proves he and Katherine
went to school together; two children search for their parents;
and a woman seeks her former lover.
All in turn queue to ask the attendant whether the things they
are seeking are in his lost property. His vague responses, repeatedly
stating that he needs more information, highlight the hopelessness
of their quests.
This sense of futility that arises from loss reduces even grown
adults to a child-like state of confusion and frustration, so
it is perhaps unsurprising that the most effective passages in
the play are those involving the two children who have lost their
Where, occasionally, the dialogue between the adult characters
lags, the interchanges between the young brother and sister shine
with wit and pathos.
Both Leon Smith and Emily Jane Horn make remarkably convincing
children, with just the right balance of wide-eyed innocence and
sadistic cruelty characterising their scenes together.
Their bickering over who has to carry
their suitcase is a joy to watch, with Smith, in particular, giving
a master-class in comic timing.
At one point, the children sit exhausted on either side of the
backdrop, and watch as Katherine and Ryan stumble around looking
for a missing phone number and missing photo respectively.
Frustrated at witnessing the two repeat the same movements and
cover the same ground, the boy and girl cry out words of encouragement
and help. Sometimes, the play seems to imply, it takes a child’s
mind to see clearly the things that adults’ minds confuse.
In a nice twist, the audience discovers that the lost property
attendant has, in fact, been hoarding people’s belongings.
When his former lover confronts him over his actions, asking
him ‘What are you trying to find by keeping this stuff?’,
he replies simply: ‘Me.’ Which, of course, is exactly
what all of the characters are looking for, as they strive to
regain a part of themselves in their search for objects, or people
from their past.
Thankfully, the psychology never becomes too heavy-handed, and
pretension is something the company seem to be refreshingly devoid
Despite their insistence in the programme that they don’t
tell the audience what to do or think, Tangled Feet end the production
with the upbeat message that the things that are truly important
to us will be found, even if it takes years.
Although this is a rather naïve take on life, it makes for
As a follow-on from Catching Dust’s bleak tale
of doomed relationship cycles, Lost Property reveals
a company as adept at handling whimsical humour as it is serious
It also shows a growing confidence and maturity from the actors,
as well as refinement in direction from Nathan Curry.
Although The Pleasance is a fantastic fringe venue, Tangled Feet
deserve a wider audience. If the talent and ambition shown in
their work so far is anything to go by, it shouldn’t be
long before they achieve it.