"All my hurts my garden spade can heal." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
All in the garden seems rosy. A girl emerges from the borders, arms spread wide, “I’m a girl, a legend of a girl, with blue eyes and blond hair” she says with childlike glee.
Bees drone as she stitches together the story of her parent’s love, a love that came upon them suddenly, blowing into their hearts. And she is the fruit of that affection, their little bird. But a disastrous event will sow the seeds of something darker that will grow to take over her neatly constructed plot.
She remembers hospitals, the whisper of nurse’s feet on polished floors and her own quiet but wild inner dialogue, locked away like a fairy tale princess. Awakened by the kiss of a mysterious stranger, the garden becomes a place of earthly delights, she the “little wren” on the wings of an obsessive, idealised love. When she finds herself again abandoned, she tracks her lover through the shadowy undergrowth, spade in hand, to furiously plant a kiss in his heart.
There’s a hint of the “Loam and Lovechild” genre about this monologue, with nature (even when tamed by horticulture) rough and wild and men and women ruled by their passions. Everything is experienced through the disordered world-view of a character haunted by the past and never fully in the present. This makes for a strong, physical performance with lush, poetic language - even if somewhat unremitting in its intensity.
The familiar space of a garden is given a eerie makeover in this site-specific work, with an uplit son-et-Lumière landscape. The immersive effect is completed by the use of headphones which feed the audience not just the spoken words but also whispered, distorted echoes and sound effects. Bees buzz between ears, a murmuration of starlings circles overhead, the susurration of the wind in the trees is all around. The sounds are in part collected and mixed live and the natural and manufactured blur seamlessly.
The breeze conspires to blow the drifting smoke, and for a second it looks like a movie running backwards as the lone narrator steps back into the shadowed borders. A memorable haunting lost voice.
Show times: 15-24 August 2013 (10.00pm)
Ticket price: £12 (£10).