REVIEW: HONEY (The Cockpit) ★★★

Honey – a production from Reaction Theatre Makers, comes to The Cockpit Theatre for short run. Along with The Slip and Fishead, Honey makes the Earth Mind Trilogy of plays that examine mental well-being and our changing environment.

Honey tells the tale of a community in the Welsh mountains, a remote location with connections to the world outside. Caron (Callan Durrant) is a young man in his twenties with a severe autism who lives with his mother and loves to dance. Anwen (Vey Straker) is his mother, a beekeeper whose husband is a bomb disposal expert and often away overseas. Celandine (Jemma Lewis) is Anwen’s sister, a tattoo artist who turns up to help out when Anwen is home alone with Caron. Armes (Jenni Lea Jones) is the half-sister of Anwen and Celandine who has returned to the village with her husband. Through the women’s interactions with each other, Caron, the unseen other members of the community and their monologues direct to the audience we come to see that each has a sadness to hide and that they have more in common than at first it seems.

The set is simple and works well in the small space of The Cockpit. Three bee hives and two windows take centre stage and are moved around by the cast as the action moves from the cottage to the garden and into the village. A patchwork quilt that Anwen is making for Caron is ever present. In a nice touch, the quilt creators are credited alongside the rest of the cast and crew. Sound is used well here to set the scene, the hum of the bees in the hive, the sounds of the birds singing, the women singing a Welsh folk tune and the music on the local radio station. Caron’s love of dancing makes for some beautifully choreographed scenes performed by Callan Durrant.

I would have preferred this play without the oddly placed interval as the cast worked hard to include us in their world and this broke the magic for me but overall, Honey is a lovely tale brought to life by a talented team.

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans


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