Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Touching characterisation and an intriguing story-line as logic meets emotion. Can you love someone enough to leave them behind forever? Sometimes, whatever you choose, you lose.
Jade Blue’s one-woman show is a beguiling piece that examines how the choices we make determines the path of our lives but how chance can have a much greater bearing in the way that it often determines the choices available to you in the first place.
Flora is a mathematical prodigy with an uncanny ability to reduce the world to a numbers, probabilities and logical choices. But Flora is also a disturbed young woman, desperately trying to come to terms with the world she lives in.
She’s expecting a visit from her story-writer father, Harry, for the first time in over two years. Harry is a very ordinary man faced with making a very extraordinary decision – does he do the right thing or the thing that is best for everyone. And as she prepares for the visit, Flora takes us back through her brief life and introduces you to the people whose choices contributed to her being where she is right now.
This was a piece where logic and emotion come together and it’s a powerful combination, forcing Harry to face a decision that many would be unable to resolve, in this case whether he loves someone enough to leave them forever. And in an interesting twist, this pivotal question was left hanging in the air. Too many writers want everything buttoned down at the end of a play, but Jade Blue and her co-writer (and director) George Dillon had the courage to leave not only this but several other key issues dangling unresolved in front of the audience.
Yet for all these potent juxtapositions of logic and emotion it was a charming, witty and times quite moving piece of theatre. Jade Blue forms her characters with great care, each being different physically as well as in voice, accent and delivery. There was genuine variety as well, from the hard indifference of Flora’s mother to the paternalism of the grandfather to the touching fragility of Flora and Harry themselves. Her use of the limited space on stage was also creative – each corner was assigned to one of the peripheral people in the story leaving Flora and Harry the central limelight. And some creative lighting and haunting sound augmented the words appropriately.
However, sometimes less is more. The piece reached what felt like a natural conclusion but the spell was rather broken by a reprise of a poem that Flora had recited earlier. That’s a minor point though in what is a production with a lot to recommend it. Against the Odds is a tale where you have to think as you listen and watch – a piece that the watcher must invest in, if you will. So it’s not the easiest hour you will spend in a theatre but it’s a rewarding experience if you’re prepared to make the effort.