The Basic Theatre Review London
It's time for my review of Honey.
This week I had the pleasure of making my first visit to 'The Cockpit' in Marylebone to see the enchanting tale of Honey, written and directed by Tiffany Hosking.
A patchwork of life in the Welsh mountains, Honey is an intimate story that intricately weaves together the lives of a boy with autism who loves to dance, his mother and her tattoo-artist sister, and those that want to love them. I found the storyline of Honey to be exceedingly engaging. For 2 hours, from beginning to end, I was engrossed within the play. Hosking's writing is utterly gripping. The dynamics and changing relationships between the four characters makes for fascinating viewing. All four characters have subtle progressions at the play goes on, which was particularly interesting to observe. The story felt very true to life, and it seemed as if these characters could have easily been real people. Additionally, I was rather impressed with the way in which the play tackles the subject of autism. Its portrayal of a 22 year old suffering with severe autism was particularly moving, and the dedication shown by his family was inspiring.
As Anwen, the devoted Mother of Caron, Vey Straker gives a heartwarming portrayal. The character makes multiple sacrifices for her autistic son and is extremely dedicated to him, which I felt Straker perfectly encaptured in her performance. Additionally, she had an exceptional Welsh accent that didn't falter whatsoever throughout the course of the play. Callan Durrant, in the role of autistic son Caron, only speaks once throughout the duration of the play, however despite this Durrant creates an outstanding characterisation. His soliloquy which provides Caron with a voice to present his views on living life with autism was rather powerful. Portraying Caron's aunt, Celandine, is Jemma Lewis. Lewis has also created a wonderful characterisation for Celandine, the caring sister and aunt who is willing to give her all to help those around her. The warmth and kind-heartededness of Celandine is wonderfully performed. I felt that the scenes where Lewis truly shined was when Celandine would dance with her nephew. Choosing to dance like a bee with her nephew, real and heartwarming humanity was shown. I found that those particular scenes provided examples that you do not need to have dialogue to show connection, humanity and compassion. Jenni Lea Jones, as half-sister Armes, is also outstanding. Throughout the play, Jones makes it easy for the audience to have sympathy for her character, excellently showing her pain and struggles during her soliloquy's.
The lighting, which has been designed by Ben Hughes, is superlative and highly effective. I particularly liked the use of the spotlights, as well as the glowing honey pots which are used during moments of darkness.
The featured star of Honey is, drum roll please... JEMMA LEWIS!
Lewis's characterisation and portrayal of Celandine is excellent. The sequences in which the character of Celandine dances with her autistic nephew are charming and real signs of humanity are clearly shown. Jemma Lewis was utterly faultless!