devised by Rhyannon Styles & Amy Draper.
Camden People’s Theatre 58-60 Hampstead Road NW1 2PY To 15 December 2012.
9pm 7, 11-13, 15 Dec.
6.30pm 8 Dec.
Runs 1hr 15min No interval.
TICKETS: 08444 77 1000 .
Review: Francis Grin 29 November.
Tea, cakes and a quiet apocalypse at Camden People’s Theatre .
There’s only one thing worse than the end of the world: having to spend it by yourself. In Rhyannon Styles and Amy Draper’s Angel Cake, Sophie has to do just that, as she’s thrown an ‘end-of-the-world party’ where no-one’s shown up. It’s a performance filled with tea, biscuits, games and despair – as we watch Sophie slowly accept what’s about to come.
Angel Cake fully engages the audience. Sophie, effectively played by Rhyannon Styles, gives us no choice but to participate in the ‘fun’, playing Chinese Whispers and Pin the Tale on the Donkey with her. These moments of playfulness are silenced when she suddenly begins playing by herself, clearly alone. Ele Slade’s intimate set further immerses us us as we enter a small circular room, filled with books, toys, tea-cups and the childhood mementos which Sophie clings to for comfort. A space which takes us out of the theatre, and into Sophie’s home.
Although the text is occasionally a bit rocky, there are beautiful descriptions of the last days on earth. Most memorable are the ‘group of friends’ ("actually, it was more of a suicide club") who swam out into the ocean until they drowned, the woman who decided to spend the afternoon having tea at the Ritz (even though she would have to make it herself) and the strangers who proposed to one another on the train. As Sophie notes, "people are a lot more friendly, now that the world is ending".
The story loses momentum when Sophie dives into her own life, filled with an overload of tragedy, into her mother’s Alzheimer’s and the birthday party where no-one showed up. These moments are followed by silence and tears and this character’s ‘tragedy’ begins to feels a bit too contrived. It becomes unclear as to what this piece is truly articulating and how this could be pushed further.
Regardless, I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a truly ‘experimental’ evening at the theatre. As the lights dimmed and the show ended, it took me a few moments to remembert I was in Camden People’s Theatre and nowhere else.
Sophie: Rhyannon Styles.
Director: Amy Draper.
Designer: Ele Slade.
Lighting: Christopher Nairne.