By: Indigo Cleverley, TRP Reviewer
“The show that we’re about to do is a story of the future. The story we’re going to tell is the story of us. I’m going to tell you this now: it doesn’t have a happy end”
Writer and solo performer Sam Ward starts his play with its conclusion, delivered to the audience who are sat in the round, on standard office-esque chairs. Admittedly, an odd scene to walk into – it feels like an A.A. meeting crossed with a zen meditation session. Being surrounded by the whole audience and seeing and being seen by everybody is an atypical experience in the Drum Theatre, but as it turns out, very magical.
The story of this show is conceptually bold and striking. It’s a story “of a baby born in a lighthouse, of someone on fire in the middle of the desert, of two lovers reunited in a flooded city, of a spaceship on the edge of a black hole”. Sounds intense right. In fact, it’s pleasantly calming. A jam packed 65 mins full of dynamic and compelling story telling (both visually and spoken), thought-provoking subjects and utter immersion. Although so many topics are discussed throughout, it is difficult to identify the key theme or storyline followed. Nevertheless, We Were Promised Honey is an exceptionally well written, clever play.
Accompanied by nothing else other than a hand held microphone and a couple of basic props, Sam Ward utilises all of the (relatively little) space on the stage with tenacity and liveliness. With a show so heavily reliant on audience participation, it’s imperative that every audience member feels comfortable but also captivated by the performance itself. As theatre-goers know, nothing comes close to the painful awkwardness of silence on stage… Thankfully, last night people were keen to participate.
In fact, I volunteered myself to be part of the show. I had absolutely no idea what to expect but was really interested in being involved. Without revealing too much of the show, I became the subject of a story about a very important CEO in a tall office in the middle of a desert! This included me wearing black sunglasses and ‘playing golf’. It was an incredible experience and it felt truly special to have been a part of this incredible story.
Sam Ward’s gripping storytelling and witty comedic timing are complimented by David Doyle’s lighting and Carmel Smickersgill’s sound design – both adding an extra layer of captivation to this performance and co-existing flawlessly. Each aspect amplifies and enhances the story, which is so dependent on imagination.
An abstract, apocalyptic piece on our planet’s past, present and future, We Were Promised Honey leaves audience members with lingering thoughts and contemplation and is meaningful social commentary on whether our future becomes a dystopia or utopia – its all in our hands and up to our choices.