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Threnody for the Sky Children – Carriageworks, Leeds

Writer &Director: Jack Dean

Reviewer: Holly Spanner

Scattered memories of a past life lay abandoned on stage, dusty relics that were once much loved set the scene for Threnody of the Sky Children. Jack Dean – puppeteer of imagination, relives the joys and pains of growing up through the eyes of James. James, who was scolded in drama class for having no talent for the subject and storing feathers in the rigging, is now a man trapped in the dusty attic of his parents’ home, recollecting the trials of life.

It is a story of hope, and belief that wings will keep him safe from the zombie apocalypse consuming his town. It is a story of how he found the love of his life, but how she spread her own wings and finding religion in the process, leaving him alone with his atheist ways, imagination and toys. One of the greatest losses is that of a loved one, and Dean portrays this with the perfect blend of heartache and comedy.

Having been involved in the rapping scene since the age of 15, it is no surprise that Dean’s script is confident and expressive. A devastating break up letter delivered on Valentine’s Day, contains seemingly humorous gripes, but ones which would be hard hitting to any man’s character and ego. The play itself is poetic and very much open to interpretation, and contains intelligent references to Greek and classical mythology.

“They say that an old man called Atlas holds up the sky,
and the adamantine lumps in his spine are mountains,
and the crystal blue pools of his eyes are oceans,
through which he stares at the nursery ceiling of space,
hoping eagles of solar fire will carry him home.”

Lighting is simple, with a collection of onstage lamps illuminating different props and areas of the stage at any given time, ensuring attention is where you need it, when it is needed. Surreal animations are projected onto a screen at the back of the stage, which are both nostalgic and occasionally dreamlike. This brings a lovely artistic element to the production, and works extremely well in the context of the Carriageworks Theatre.

A short play with a hint of modern fable and powerful imagery, this dark comedy will have you laughing in the theatre, and lost in a reverie afterwards. James Dean is an accomplished storyteller, and working with a minimal amount of props makes you eager to see what he will do next.

“I believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden, but only if they believe in themselves”

Reviewed on: 18th September 2014

Writer &Director: Jack Dean Reviewer: Holly Spanner Scattered memories of a past life lay abandoned on stage, dusty relics that were once much loved set the scene for Threnody of the Sky Children. Jack Dean - puppeteer of imagination, relives the joys and pains of growing up through the eyes of James. James, who was scolded in drama class for having no talent for the subject and storing feathers in the rigging, is now a man trapped in the dusty attic of his parents’ home, recollecting the trials of life. It is a story of hope, and belief that wings…

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The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East
The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Holly Spanner. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.