The Soaking of Vera Shrimp, Pleasance, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Rosie & Me in association with Live Theatre
Alison Carr (writer), Rosie Kellagher (director), Emily James (design), Nick Williams (sound)
Tessa Parr
Running time

Vera Shrimp has a gift. She understands the science of weather, and in particular precipitation (rain to you and me) and she can read raindrops. She discovers that she can pick up a connection between the emotion felt by the person who first linked with the water, like in a splashed puddle, till it evaporates to cloud and returns as raindrops, then records each different emotion on post it notes. This 14 year old who is ‘not part of we’ uses her gift of hyper sensitivity as her mechanism against loneliness after the sudden death of her mother.

Traverse 50 writer Alison Carr has got under the skin of a young woman dealing with estrangement from her bereaved father after the death of his wife at a time when she is learning to cope with loss herself as a solitary adolescent. Tessa Parr inhabits the vulnerable Vera with utter believability, wrapped in the comfort of an oversized cardigan that looks like it was her Mother’s. From her anxious and eager school science presentation with flip charts and boards, to her gathering of 3 interesting facts about people and reciting about her lack of personal hygiene that starts with her return to school wearing tuna stained blazer, she excels. The vibrant language delivered in Parr’s north of England accent is laced with humour even as things are falling apart.

Vera describes death as ‘smelling of food’ with well- meaning neighbours bringing dishes of varying quality to help her and her dad in the early days after the scattering of ashes. An incident of the stiff jeaned polo shirted neighbour arriving to retrieve her ‘avocado coloured’ flan dish from among the neglect of the Shrimp house is vivid both in its writing and its delivery.

This moving play shows a girl finding her singular way through uncharted waters.

5-31 August 2015 (not 18) at 12:45pm age recommend 12+