Crocosmia is the story of the Brackenberg family as told through the eyes of the 3 children – Finley and Sophia the ten year old twins played by Dominic Conway and Shamira Turner, and Freya – played by Clare Beresford - who is seven and three quarters when we start the play but has her eighth birthday just before the end.
The story shows how the three children come to terms with the loss of their parents by sharing memories through play acting and cake-puppetry (using a Battenberg cake of course). Leading one scene to another are the records from their parents’ vintage record collection. By the way, two large cakes and four small ones are consumed during the cake-puppetry scene and I don’t know how the three actors manage to eat all that cake in such a short space of time without being sick!
The characterization by the three actors is first class – playing children in a believable way is not an easy thing to do but I can say that you really feel that you are looking at children and not adults playing children. In fact when Finley and Sophia dress up as their parents, they really appear to be two children dressing up in their parents’ clothes and pretending to be Mummy and Daddy. There is one very funny scene where the characters pretend they are learning how to shave and also some audience participation involving balloons and party-poppers.
The scenes range from the funny – forming a gold fish from a half-eaten carrot and trying to grow a light bulb, to the more poignant when the loss of their parents becomes apparent. However, the grief is never allowed to become maudlin or self indulgent.
The idea was conceived by Alex the director at the time he was leaving Canterbury University about two and a half years ago. All three of the actors had also been studying there, and Alex invited them to join him in improvising around the theme. There is no set script and the whole idea is constantly evolving, bringing in new ideas all the time. Suffice it to say that after 75 performances of the show it seems as fresh as if it was a newly conceived idea.
The group is called “Little Bulb Theatre” and their fame is spreading far and wide –they depar for Australia later this month as they have been invited to perform in Perth. All I can hope is that they make sure that they return to the UK and especially Bristol as I for one would like to see a lot more of them.
A wonderful evening with a great deal of laughter and just the tiniest hint of tears.