REVIEW: A Hundred Words for Snow (Trafalgar Studios) ★★★★★

A Hundred Words For Snow is a coming-of-age story about Aurora – Rory for short (Gemma Barnett), whose Geography teacher father was killed in a hit and run, leaving Rory and her mum confused, angry and thinking about everything that could’ve been.

Rory stumbles across her dad’s journal, and finds that he’d been planning a trip-of-a-lifetime, to take her to the North Pole, and, continuing on from their childhood games, do some real exploring together. Her dad, after all, was an adventurer at heart. Heartbroken, and unsure about life, Rory sets off – her mum unaware – on a voyage to end all voyages, with her dad (well, his ashes) in tow. The North Pole awaits.

She ‘borrows’ her mum’s credit card, and heads to Tromsø – a very cold, exceptionally snowy Norwegian city, where she meets new people (fit boys) and has some….new experiences, especially for a 15 year old girl (if you catch my drift). Awkward for a teen at the best of times? You betcha. Even worse when your dad’s ashes are in the boot of his car? Yes, well…erm. Moving on.

Rory is befriended by an older Norwegian lady towards the end of her journey, who takes her to a police station to tell her mum that she is safe and well. Her only surviving parent had flown out to Norway to find her, and together, they finish the special, painful and necessary onward journey – to the North Pole, to scatter her dad’s ashes.

This one-woman-show is fronted by Gemma Barnett. Not heard her name before? Well remember it, because it won’t be the last time you hear it. She is a star. The way she captivates the audience and engages with them throughout the show is astounding. The journey she has to go through in this role is tough, and she portrays the emotions perfectly, for every second of the 70 minutes I had the pleasure of watching her.

For an actress to excel to the level that Barnett did, the story also has to be captivating, and Tatty Hennessy has managed just that, with A Hundred Words For Snow. The play provides a fantastic mix of tension, grief, and comedy (which Barnett delivers with perfect timing and emotion), and it draws you in from the moment Rory first opens her mouth.

If you’ve got a free night between now and 30th March, then head down to Trafalgar Studios (studio 2), and take in this intimate performance, where Barnett bears her soul, and Rory endears herself to everyone in the small theatre.

Reviewed by Luisa Gottardo
Photo: Nick Rutter


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