The Love of Stationery

comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
31317 large
The Love of Stationery
Published 12 Aug 2017

"Woman" works in a stationery shop. She collects sugar and irregular verbs. She likes everything in its place. Her friend is a small portable hoover called Henry. She likes to be prepared.

Into her ordered world comes Richard, an artist. Trouble ensues.

This is a wonderfully subtle one-woman performance from Norwegian comedian Lisa Maria Berg. In the opening scene she is hoovering her pockets with Henry while telling us she collects packets sugar, providing us the pleasure of anticipating that one has split and she has gritty pockets. It's a superbly nuanced performance expressing so much with just a crazed look in her eyes. Occasionally Berg breaks from the monologue to momentarily interact with the audience for their reaction, or jokily admonish someone's rustling sweet packet. But she never fully steps out of character.

The prose is poetic and precise. Richard purchases, very specifically, a purple rubber that sits next to the crêpe paper next to the coloured paper. You can see it in your mind's eye. The haunting score provided by both Berg plucking a guitar on stage as well as over the PA adds to the lyrical atmosphere.

As her measured world begins to crumble, the line between "Woman's" perception of reality blurs, drifting towards a fantasy world portrayed with some pretty graphic and disturbing imagery. It's particularly affecting in contrast to the order of before. Her reaction may be extreme, but Berg still cultivates empathy here. "Woman" has been pretty shoddily treated. We feel her frustration and anger too.