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Theatre Review: A Hundred Words For Snow @ Trafalgar Studios

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Grief hits people in different ways, and sometimes it makes us do things we never imagined in a million years. In Tatty Hennesy’s beautifully written monologue, 15-year-old Rory’s (Gemma Barnett) Dad has just died in an accident.

Image credit: Nick Rutter

Rory finds herself going through his stuff, and as she does this she realises that her dad was an adventurer at heart, and that she needs to give him the adventure he always dreamed of. With his Urn in a backpack, and a stolen credit card, she starts making her way toward the North Pole.

Gemma Barnett plays the character of Rory with an innocent liveliness that draws the audience in. The direction by Lucy Atkinson has her breaking the fourth wall with a directness and matter of fact attitude that makes you feel she is sharing her story just with you. The room feels very intimate.

The direction has given the melancholy of the piece a lovely humour, and the character of Rory is so recognisable that everyone in the audience can relate to her. Gemma Barnett commands the stage with an ease, and you feel her enjoyment in performing.

It is inspiriring to watch her, as she lights up and tries to deal with the grief, and follow her on the journey towards acceptance of her loss.

The set is simple but fitting, and designed by Christianna Mason. Hidden away in little cubby holes are props that you don’t notice until they are in the actor’s hands. It’s done with an elegant efficiency that suits the piece.

Lucy Adams lighting design supports this very well with blue shades that provides an atmosphere of snow and coldness.

The sound design by Annie May Fletcher and Mark Sutcliffe is a rich soundscape that supports the play and Gemma Barnett's monologue without ever being too overpowering.

This is a beautifully written coming of age story, and watching Gemma Barnett’s Rory discover herself in this adventure is a wonderful experience.

A Hundred Words for Snow is running at Trafalgar Studios until March 30th, and tickets can be purchased here.

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