REVIEW: Wild Flowers at Epstein Theatre


After a critically acclaimed run last May at the Unity Theatre, Franny Conlin‘s gritty drama Wild Flowers made its debut performance at the Epstein Theatre. Written by Franny Conlin and directed by Russell Parry it was a poignant reminder of Liverpool’s own history and identity. Our reviewer Tanith Facey went along…

I always enjoy Liverpool based dramas and what better place for me to see one but the Epstein Theatre, home to many diverse performances and often with new emerging local talent. Wild Flowers was exactly that.

The writer Franny Conlin and a cast of fewer than 10 people from Liverpool, portrayed exactly what life was like for one particular working class family during the strikes in the 90’s. The main storyline, you would think would centre around money, but this was only a small part. The majority of issues covered were around how loyalties, or lack of them, can tear a family apart during times of struggle. Imagine for a moment one side of a family staying behind a picket line, but the other crossing it. Or imagine as a Mother being put in the position of choosing between your Son and your Husband. And as a girlfriend, keeping a secret that once revealed could make matters even worse.

This was a gritty drama, hard hitting in parts; fear, drugs, hatred, shame, loss, jealousy…..all were represented and powerfully invoked a sense of empathy for all families that were forced to endure such things in the face of such adversity.

The whole cast demonstrated great acting abilities, there were some strong musical performances and they managed to engage the audience further with some good old fashioned scouse humour too….we always like a bit of that!

Due to it being a Liverpool play with some poignant local history, I think I would have liked each scene to be a bit longer, allowing more time for each of the great characters to shine through. I enjoyed Wild Flowers but couldn’t decide whether it was a musical or a play? Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be labelled as either and simply designed to appeal to both types of audience? If this was the case then it succeeded, there was enough of each for all theatre goers to appreciate it.

Words by: Tanith Facey

 

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