REVIEW: Feathers in the Snow, Southwark Playhouse ✭✭✭✭

In an emotional farewell to the London Bridge venue, Phil Matthews finds a captivating message of hope in Philip Ridley’s family show.

Review: Feathers in the Snow, Southwark Playhouse ✭✭✭✭
Whether each decision is a good or bad thing, only time will tell. [Photo: Bronwen Sharp]
Lena is stood on top of her favourite hill under the stars. She has a choice to make. She’s had plenty of time to decide. Who will she marry? It is now or never.

Will she go for Craig Vye’s strapping Jared? After all, his muscular physique will build her a house and keep her safe. He’s also sexy as. Or will she opt for Stefan (Adam Venus), the comfortable geek that will entertain their children with stories of unicorns and dragons? Whichever bed Lena lies in, her choice will have consequences.

Philip Ridley’s sweet and entertaining family show is full of those choices. Whether each decision is a good or bad thing, only time will tell. The butterfly effect is set in motion resulting in some lives being destroyed and others enriched.

A talented cast of six leading actors, as well as able members of the Southwark Playhouse’s Young Company, perform over 72 eccentric roles, spanning over 500 years. A talking bird, leopard and a rather unscrupulous dolphin, encompass a thrilling show packed with energy and gusto. The ensemble relish Ridley’s poetic language (“Your words are like ants in my ears”) and are sublimely directed by David Mercatali.

Matthew Hendrickson’s range is palpable as he tackles a medley of roles, often on a sixpence. His Cook and First Official Historian of Blazerbirdia are worth the ticket price alone. Adam Venus is equally pleasing in his turns, particularly with the dazzling and very comical Blazerbird. But it’s Nelly Harker who brings a real emotional truth to the piece. Her portrayal of Lena sets up the magical story with a validity made possible by her skilled and detailed performance.

Ridley creates a world of conditioning, fear, faith, sacrifice, freedom, jubilation, strength, weakness, love and hate. It’s all there.

Feathers in the Snow says we must embrace our decisions, whatever they may be: “Life is about moving forward, no matter what the risk”.  The show culminates in an uplifting musical number performed by the entire cast: “There’s risk in every footstep, but love and friendship too”. Fitting words, considering this will be the final production in the venue before it moves to a temporary location.

Fans and novices alike such grab a ticket to Ridley’s play at once.

***(4 stars)
Runs until 5th January 2013
More info

Share via
Send this to a friend