Seeds of Memories
By Patrick Withey
A warm thanks to Cordelia for the invitation to review the poignant, hopeful, reflective play Seeds of Memories at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Find out more in the pics and my review below…
The music, just before the cast were on stage had an air of sadness with something hopeful and positive reaching through, which captured the play very well.
Seeds of Memories is about grief, but not how you my suppose it would be. This is far from depressing. The story is told through the actors and puppets. Grandad and blackbirds in the garden are represented by puppets, which adds to the creativity and poignancy.
Grandad had a passion for his garden and he would tell his son, stories and poems; a recurring one throughout is one about seeing magpies – “One For Sorrow, Two For Joy”.
The seamless flashbacks, taken by grandad’s son – A, played by Ollie J. Edwards are exuberant and full of childlike joy and energy, each time he is there, in the garden with him. Then, in the present, he conveys, further, his love of his grandad, through peaceful reflections. A takes the audience through grandad’s life, of what he knew and through his own life, growing up. He gives his grandad life again and real imagery, yes, aided by the puppet, but also enough for the imagination to takeover. Grandad is given real personality and life experiences, that most people will relate to. Ollie, playing A had great comic timing. He could make you almost feel your eyes watery and then, suddenly, he will have you smiling or laughing as he demonstrates that grief isn’t always sad 24/7. All the way through, holding the audience and making his character be empathised and sympathised with.
Another dimension is given to aid this telling of this family’s story along. If ivy-clad walls could talk…. Well, this one could. Lisha Allen put in an ethereal performance, owning the stage as she moved around, everywhere on the stage, speaking with an almost haunting voice, as she looked unflinchingly and almost directly into your soul, as she ensured the audience, observing, were captured in the garden. The character was clever, just as nature has wisdom within it, so does the character of Nature, on stage, as more thought provoking points and reflection was created.
Mum/Nan, played by Lesley Hayes brought humour and matter of factness and got it spot on.
The play is written very well by Patrick Withey, and thoughtfully. In some parts, although, very contemporary, it has an almost Shakespearean feel and it also feels timeless and authentic.
The play, perhaps, surprisingly, has a had many bursts of positivity and shown how, even in the darkest of times, life can still be lived. If you’ve experienced grief or want to know an angle of what it may be like to, then if you ever get to see this play, which I reckon should be funded to tour, it is that good, then I highly recommend it. It might even have you thinking of your grandad and about how he sown seeds of memories within you to spread and tell, to keep an essence of him alive and how we, who are alive are expanding our seeds of memories by those passed onto us and as we create new ones, that we share.