To describe I, Hooky is, to put it lightly, difficult, so to save time I’ll just call it brilliant. Technically, however, it’s a one-man duologue, a conversation between Olly Fry and JM Barrie’s ‘Captain Hook’.
It certainly isn’t forgettable. I, Hooky moves along a bipolar axis, from bright humour to sudden melancholia, melodrama to softness. Fry shrugs into the character of Hook as easily as his frock coat, and the disintegration of the line between person and persona is captivating.
The performance is incredibly manipulative. Audience members piece together the fragmentary display as voyeurs, yet are also included, quite literally, in such a way that I, Hooky’s starkly human core is intimately impressed upon them.
Its undeniable eccentricity isn’t base randomness serving for cheap laughs or shock-fodder, it’s the very best of intelligent writing that presents a fractured image, crystallising beautifully at the end. Fry surpasses the constraints of budget theatre with enough subtlety and subtext to haunt the mind long, long after its hour runtime.
The acting deserves just as much commendation. Fry performed in the Friends Meeting House to an audience much smaller than he deserved. Rather than detract from the production, though, it only accentuated Fry’s strengths. An amateur can play competently in front of a full house, but only a professional has the control to truly give their best to a small crowd. Fry is unreservedly a professional; whether pompous or emotional, he performed to each one of us devotedly.
I, Hooky is surprisingly raw and deeply moving, but colourful enough that those looking for superficial fun will still have an unforgettable hour. Given a real budget, a crew and a bigger venue, Olly Fry no doubt has the ability to create art worthy of high-end theatre. Without them, he accomplishes it all the same. He’s a talent worth watching.
Review by Joshua Lambert
PLEASE NOTE: The Bath Chronicle Do Not Publish Stars On Their Reviews But Our Reviewer Would Have Given This Production 5 Stars.