Christy Ku reviews Threnody For The Sky Children at the Bike Shed Theatre on January 28th as part of the From Devon with Love Festival.
A frozen Tuesday night – perfect for visiting the small but wonderful BikeShed Theatre, and to see Jack Dean’s one man show; Threnody for the Sky Children. Inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Dean adds a modern twist to the fables by mixing them with surrealism, poems about ex-girlfriends and beautiful music.
We are introduced to a young man who is hiding in his parent’s attic; “a forgotten room, a room for forgetting”. As the show goes on, it juxtaposes the normality of a dreamy, unemployed graduate who lives with his parents, and the bizarre and sinister apocalyptic world just beyond the window. The writing is absolutely wonderful, a soaring prose about the wonders of childhood and the slow stagnation of growing up. His story-telling is alternately funny, as well as beautiful and intimate, told whilst playing with his childhood toys in the dimly lit attic.
However, the transitions were slightly too slow, causing breaks in the audience’s immersion at times. Also, whilst Dean’s script was amazing, his acting let him down slightly, nerves causing him to stumble over a few lines. He recovered well, but the kind of charisma and skill required to hold an audience’s interest for nearing an hour in a one-person show just wasn’t quite present.
Dean used a simple set – which was all he really needed. The brick work of the theatre was employed well to create the setting of the cold abandoned attic. The use of light and dark was great – at times, he used a single light, playing with the light and shadows in a very interesting and unique manner. It did, however, sometimes become difficult when we could only hear his voice for extended amounts of time, and were unable to see his facial expressions.
Jack Dean is currently working at the BikeShed Theatre, and is heading off to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before embarking on a tour. He’s a likeable young man of 24, with lots of potential and, I’m sure, plenty more great performances ahead of him.
Jack Dean: Threnody For The Sky Children was supported by Bristol Ferment.
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