Robert Boulton

This quirky one-hour show at the Vault Festival is well worth checking out.

Devised and performed by theatre company RedBellyBlack, OK Bye explores what we mean when we say “goodbye” – how we do it, why we do it and how it makes us feel. Alongside the main story line, featuring a family saying goodbye to a loved one following a bereavement, there are a number of interjections told through recordings which are used to good effect. The tale is told through a blend of physical theatre – with, on occasion, some visually impressive set-pieces – and dynamic storytelling.

There is a general through-narrative which focuses on the story of siblings Peter, Ollie and April, who are brought together following the death of their mother. After some pleasant moments of reminiscing, old family feuds boil to the surface and there are some genuinely affecting moments as they each find their own ways to cope with their loss. In between scenes, we are treated to snapshots of other stories which are remarkably funny.

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Through a series of prerecorded monologues and conversations, which are lip-synced to comedic effect by the actors, we hear a diverse range of goodbye stories. From a pensioner saying goodbye to a family home as they move into sheltered accommodation, to a pair of dieters bidding farewell to excess weight, the stories are interesting, compelling and genuinely very amusing. We were initially a little sceptical that the lip-syncing might be overused and that it would lose its effect, but remained entertaining throughout.

OK Bye does seem a little rough-around-the-edges in places – it has a very low-budget, DIY feel to it. Yet while it may lack polish, high production values or technical brilliance, it more than makes up for this by being wonderfully original and creative throughout. A charming little play bursting with wit and humour – one we’re happy to recommend.

Gay Times gives OK Bye – ★★★★☆

More information can be found here.