With her list of ways that she tries to be “enough” (including being thrifty and more environmentally friendly), you might think Kate has got things sussed – but in actual fact she’s doing her best not to show the world that she’s struggling. Part spoken word, part physical theatre, and part group therapy session by the end, Eleanor Dillon-Reams’ play HoneyBee is running in the Attic at the Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre this Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The play does skip around a bit (between stories as well as types of delivery), however most of it focuses around one fateful visit to a festival. Kate, her best mate Niall, and his girlfriend Melissa are all up for a good time, throwing on the glitter with abandon and knocking back the drugs & booze – so much so that any thought of consequences goes out of the window.
At times it does become quite frantic; early on this does make it quite hard to get any sort of a handle on it, as Dillon-Reams goes through some movement sections before properly addressing the audience. Though it is a bit disorientating at the time, it does make a little more sense with the benefit of hindsight. There does need to be a teeny bit less of the switching around, however, as it becomes very difficult to hold onto the narrative of the central plot – the timeline becomes a bit muddy late on.
It’s the later sequences that focus on self-worth and self-care that really hit home, with the bee metaphor coming into its own and all of the audience being invited to join in to create a feeling of solidarity within the room. Glancing around at fellow audience members, the emotional effect HoneyBee had on several people was clear to see – with the kinds of themes it explores, it’s bound to spark some extreme reactions.
Dillon-Reams, performing her own work, is warm and engaging; she switches between fun & serious mode well, and is clearly passionate about the work she’s presenting. Whilst there are some moments in the play that will take a bit of thinking over, the overall effect that it has is very significant.
My verdict? A thought-provoking hour considering self-worth and self-care, following the ups and downs of life in an occasionally chaotic fashion.
HoneyBee runs at Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre (Attic) until 26 August 2019. Tickets are available online or from the box office.