Edinburgh Fringe 2021
Granny Smith lives in France but is English. She welcomes us into her home in order for her to help us comprehend the language she now knows a little more, or so she says, than English. She shows us her house, describes her favourite things to do, gets us to help with a recipe and then decides to nip to Paris for a missing ingredient.
As a piece of Theatre in Education this works very well. The opportunity to delve into the language is richly taken as Granny Smith has a very attractive set of qualities to draw us into her world. That world manages to touch upon many of the words that are there somewhere, at the back of my mind from my rudimentary French from secondary school. She adds to it with a few new words I had no knowledge of and therefore as a family show – she gets me to remember, she adds to my knowledge, and I leave thinking how good the show was.
The script therefore has no cutting edge, but it requires no jeopardy. The drama is in helping Granny to remember things and get her to do the tasks she has herself identified as needing done. It is gentile but very well done.
Our narrator, and guide, has a very easy way with her which is great. There is a gentleness and a security in both the language and the mask work. In the introduction the reluctance over language work was mentioned and I must be honest and say that I would have loved more of the mask and less of the chatter. When you see a hint of deep artistic knowledge, I always want to dig and see deeper.
The structure ticks boxes and does not wander too far from the simple need to get people to acknowledge their language and show that knowledge. The interactive pieces in the making of a crumble are well handled – even with COVID – though leaving our young recipe reader could be a recipe in itself, for a little less than success. He appeared at some points a tad disinterested and ignored.
It is well directed, and the pace required to keep TiE flowing and teaching at the same time were well considered.
Technically it needed little by way of any extras to heighten any drama though I did like the set. There are elements which could do with a more rustic feel – the kitchen perhaps – but overall there is not much needed to improve it.
I loved it and felt really that this was a very good example of when theatre for education is working, it is working pretty damn well.