Creator: Louise-Clare Henry
Director: Martha Simon
Reviewer: Katherine Kirwin
This one-woman show from Fly in Your Soup Theatre explores the fractured memories and life of Betty, the creator’s great-grandmother, through puppetry, mime, gesture and mask work.
Louise-Clare Henry makes clear transitions between each stage of Betty’s life using the recurring prop of Betty’s glasses to move smoothly from the mask of older Betty to her lived-in memories of her youth. The mask work and gestural movement is clear and precise displaying Louise-Clare’s skill and talent as she invites the audience into Betty’s silent, lonely world. There are some lovely moments, particularly a scene where Betty is driving in her car listening to modern music, and then finds herself dancing in the middle of the street, stopping traffic, and subsequently terrified by how she has gotten there.
Louise-Clare includes a narrative thread about the making of the show, her discovery of Betty’s life story through conversations with her nan, highlighting the creative choices involved in selecting the moments that will immortalise Betty in this piece of theatre. It’s interesting to consider how Betty would feel about her portrayal, the appropriation of her memories for the creation of art after her death.
The narrative or content of this show is not always clear, which may be intentional as a means of exploring how memory becomes manipulated or distorted as we get older. Or it may also be that the sound quality of the recorded conversations between Louise-Clare and her nan, Betty’s daughter, were rather indistinct and difficult to follow.
Fly in Your Soup Theatre have a done a good job of creating a piece of theatre exploring the unseen undercurrents of drama, the choices and decisions which shape our lives. It’s an engaging means of telling Betty’s story for theatre, although potentially too personal and slightly muddled in parts.
Reviewed on 22 January 2016 | Image: Contributed