Broadway baby – 4 stars:
by Isla VT on 8th August 2014
If one has been lucky enough in life, one might have met that unique person that makes us feel like we are flying, or, at the very least, like we could fly and never land. For Wendy (Clare Sheppard), that person is her friend Cat, an artist and her friend. This friendship, however, has led to Wendy on the run from the authorities, hiding in her grandmother’s attic. Wendy (here, second to the title, begin the allusions to classic children’s literature) takes us on a humorous and endearing journey through some of her memories: starting a ‘revolution’ at work; fond memories of her vigilante cat; her encounters and friendship with the artist Cat. As Wendy tells us her story she draws us into her games, shares with us her poetry and lets us into her fantasies and dreams, all of which blur with reality in this playful and endearing tale.
Sheppard seamlessly moves between the characters that animate her tale, bringing it alive with wit, sparkle and tender anguish. Credible at all times and engaging to watch, Sheppard must be praised for her expressive use of every item in her acting arsenal. The creative use of props and set – all of which were simply but effectively employed – aided even more in the dynamic storytelling. The script, not to be forgotten, was somehow both loquacious and humble (much like the character of Wendy herself) and brought dark subject matter into a beautiful light without undermining its gravity. My only criticism of this piece is that it at times seemed to lend itself to a younger audience, but, due to a few adult themes and language, was not necessarily suitable for children.
Reminiscent of a more adult Jacqueline Wilson novel, sprinkled with classic fairy-tale and popular literary allusions, this tale lifts a somewhat dark reality and makes it light enough to float.