Review: Power Play – Funeral Flowers

★★★
theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Funeral Flowers
Published 07 Aug 2018

The shows taking place in Power Play HQ, a pop-up venue run under the auspices of the Pleasance, may genuinely capture the elusive spirit of the Fringe. Each concerns women in the main, and tackles social issues around which there is pervasive stigma and ignorance. The performances are unusual in themselves, for they are held within the confines of a real flat. True intimacy is achieved as audience members are forced to squat down on a kitchen floor one minute, corralled into a bedroom the next.

Funeral Flowers purports to be "part-play, part-floristry masterclass", but really it teaches us very little. This is the story of Angelique, a stock character from the world of issues-based theatre. Black and growing up in foster care while her mother juggles addiction, jail time and an abusive relationship, she struggles to better her circumstances as she falls prey to the corrupting influences of her environment and social structures designed to exclude her. Isolated from everyone save for her boyfriend, she ends up a compliant bartering tool in a perverse plan to settle his debts with a local gang.

This is melodrama masquerading as social realism, but deftly pulled off nonetheless. The performer addresses us with touching stoicism and does an exceptional job of portraying a victim racked with undeserved guilt. Strip away the novelty of venue, and we're left with a small pebble of a perfermance, slight but solid.