There are 100 Hundred Words for Snow, but there aren’t enough good ones to describe this performance. The show, performed in the Leith Arches, is a fabulous display of new and original writing by Tatty Hennessy. The play is simultaneously funny and complex, dealing with difficult themes such as a death in an interesting and effective way, whilst also including moments of joy and light.
Rory, played by Lucia Ireland, is a 15-year-old school student who has just lost her geography teacher father to a car crash. The story follows Rory, short for Aurora, as she sets out on a quest to the North Pole with her dad’s ashes in an urn in her backpack, pledging to take him to the place he had always wanted to visit. Without telling her mother, Rory embarks on a journey that was more than she had bargained for.
Recounting stories of her childhood and rifling through her dad’s study leads to boarding a plane in Tromsø in Northern Norway, on her way to the North Pole (the geographic one, that is).
But that’s not without a little bit of character development first.
Although this is a one-woman show, the writing is rich in characters, and Ireland was tasked with the difficult job of bringing them all alive. And that she did well. From Rory’s mother to the local researcher and traveller who helps her on her journey, to the love interest she meets in Tromsø, Ireland is able to convey multiple different characters and personalities with seeming effortlessness.
But even without all of these characters, the main character of Rory is played with such depth that the part seemed to fit Lucia Ireland perfectly. She moves around the simple set with such purpose and makes eye contact with the audience at just the right moments. Navigating through difficult and emotive topics with such ease but also a great deal of enthusiasm, Ireland seemed to love every minute on stage and it was a joy to watch.
Whilst I thought that the lighting and sound effects in this show could have done with some adjustments, in actuality the scene set by Ireland was enough and she convincingly took the entire audience to the North Pole on an epic and moving adventure.
The emotional range shown by Ireland was very impressive, and as the story comes to an end it was quite hard not to get emotional about this young girl, Rory, who has just lost her dad but gained a sense of self. The use of props and staging such as the confetti was very well coordinated.
Ireland shows a great amount of promise, and I would recommend this show for anyone looking for a more relaxed show, but one with great emotionally complex elements and also a few moments of laughter.
Press Images courtesy of the production company