I Know You, Fish
Presented by: Brickhaus Productions
BATS Theatre, 25th Feb 2022
Reviewed by: Tanya Piejus
Genoveva is a fish who likes jazz, black and white films, and philosophy but loves only fish flakes. She wasn’t always a fish. Once she was a cheeky little girl, but now she inhabits a tank in an undisclosed domestic location with an unseen woman shouting in a distant room.
The powerful one-woman performance from Genoveva Reverte centres on intimate monologues about a fatherless childhood that created her self-confessed daddy issues, bad relationships with men steeped in patriarchy and misogyny, a brush with religion, and other relatable life experiences that range from the amusing to the deeply traumatic.
Genoveva’s excellent writing could easily engage an audience for an hour by itself. The extended metaphor of a woman as a house speaks strongly of female oppression and elicits murmurs of agreement from the audience.
As presented in this performance, the spoken narrative is interspersed with physical comedy, clowning, and Epic theatre techniques that force the audience to engage with the confronting shape of Genoveva’s addiction to fish flakes – a stand-in for destructive human coping mechanisms such as drink, drugs, and sex – in novel ways. We are treated to a mimed display of developing alcoholism through a comedic rendition of the song A Horse With No Name that is simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and painfully sad.
This could all be doom and gloom, but Genoveva comes to understand that no matter how hard she tries, she’ll always be a fish because she is the sum of her experiences. And that’s okay.
The minimal staging consists mainly of filmed material projected onto the back wall. This is largely effective in supporting the narrative, although the Apple toolbar that lurks at the top of the screen when the AV elements are inactive is a distraction. The placement of lighting was also a little off so that Genoveva sometimes struggled to find her light. With a little more spit and polish on the production side, this has the potential to be a great show.