Max, who is taking part in our Arts Training Scheme, reviews Snowflake.
The build up to Christmas – as nice as it is for some – can be a festive time fraught with anxiety. And when you have not had contact with your daughter for the last two years for reasons unknown to you, this anxiety can build to a state of almost total panic. This is Andy’s situation (played by Elliot Levey). He is full of assumptions, self-criticism and doubt about what he supposedly ‘did’ when his daughter Maya left. When he hears that his daughter has been seen back in Oxford, he hatches a plan to meet her and find out why.
The place for the meeting is a local church hall. The set design by Jeremy Herbert portrayed this very well – it was ‘neutral ground’, decorated with a Christmas tree, lights, and a small model house.
The first half of the play is Andy’s monologue of the last few weeks, a guessing game of who, what, where and when, but still no why. There is one big realisation for Andy: that Maya left just after the Brexit referendum. He voted leave, she voted remain. Levey’s performance was very natural and authentic, I felt as if we could have been having a one-on-one conversation about his life troubles, state of the country… stuff friends talk about.
The second half begins by Andy’s best-laid plans of the perfect meeting being interrupted, and he finds himself being challenged on many levels. This unexpected guest, Natalie (Racheal Ofori) begins exposing some of Andy’s preconceived opinions. Natalie could be what people of a certain generation might label as a ‘millennial’ – hence the title being a play on words with the perceptions of this generation in the media. She certainly pulls Andy out of his head and back into the real world she sees herself belonging to. Natalie’s persona felt a bit brash and over-the-top, but maybe that is the only way to get Andy to react.
Natalie exposes a naivety in Andy. His often-smug attitude to the problems younger generations face in the world today, and his pigeon-holing of an over-sensitive generation, who by comparison to his, he thinks, are doing alright. It also brings him to a realisation about why Maya might have left. Ellen Robertson plays a short role in the performance, but it is very poignant and sincere.
I really enjoyed Snowflake. The at-times catastrophic reasons Andy made up for Maya leaving were funny and relatable. It uses the quagmire of Brexit, an unsatisfactory, dividing, opinionated political issue as a metaphor for how to relate to people, friends, and for this particular production, how we can reconcile with our parents who we have a lifetime of emotional baggage but sometimes must have that pragmatic conversation with.