Review: A Hundred Words For Snow

IN BRIEF A teenager’s unique journey through grief to acceptance makes for an engaging and heartwarming evening through an assured and complex central performance.

A one-woman show about a teenager’s loss of her father doesn’t initially sound like the most promising of evenings at the theatre. However, as deftly written by Tatty Hennessy, engagingly performed by Gemma Barnett and astutely directed by Lucy Jane Atkinson, this makes for an enjoyable piece of storytelling.

Rory’s recently-deceased dad was a geography teacher with a passion of an explorer, except that he never really got to travel. Recalling stories her Dad told her about polar explorers, she decides to take things into her own hands and take her Dad’s cremated ashes to the North Pole, before her Mum finds out. Hopelessly unprepared, with just her Mum’s credit card, Dad’s ashes in her backpack and a burning mission, Rory ventures into the unknown to realise her Dad’s dream.

With laughs, occasional tears, poignant interludes and smart changes of pace along the way, it’s easy to engage with this effective piece of storytelling, and the quality of writing and of performance shines through. However, as a visual piece of theatre it is very limited, the set is barely needed and the lighting component is pretty minimal, but this in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the piece. It’s all about the performance. You have to admire the intelligence of Barnett’s acting as she almost imperceptibly, incrementally transforms Rory from the over-expressive, showy teenager at the start through her own internal journey to someone far more understanding and worldly in just 70 minutes. There are very few sags in the script which is the right length to hold the attention

It was a little disappointing to see the tiny 70-seat Trafalgar Studios 2 only two-thirds full on my visit, however the (younger to middle-aged) audience were attentive throughout and showed their appreciation enthusiastically at the end. This show has been around for sometime now, and I am coming to it late, but I was very glad to have seen this different and special show.

A HUNDRED WORDS FOR SNOW runs at the Trafalgar Studios 2 until March 30th. More information and tickets here

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