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Review: Blizzard (Soho Theatre)

Review by Harry Bower

 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

One person shows can sometimes be two dimensional and leave an audience challenging their own sense of curiosity, trying to stay engaged. Not so in Emily Woof’s Blizzard which whisks us away to a whimsical world of charming introspection and intelligently amusing monologue.

 

The event begins mid conversation with protagonist ‘Dotty’ talking to us about her and her husband - also nicknamed Dotty - and their love for trees. But they both love trees for different reasons. He loves the structure and molecular makeup of something physical whereas she appreciates something more magical and unspoken about the beauty of the trunk and the leaves. That difference in intuitive thought is what drives the narrative in the piece, one Dotty always seeing things differently to the other, though both still making their relationship work, somehow.



Husband Dotty’s real name and professional title give away his scientific prowess; he’s a neuroscientist about to present his life’s work at a conference in Switzerland, work which may prove game-changing for the community of scientists he revers. An ongoing illness though prevents him from being able to travel. Soon it becomes clear he has an alternative plan - Dotty herself will travel to Switzerland and present the lecture on his behalf. What could possibly go wrong?

 

Quite a lot, it turns out, as we watch Dotty’s trip unfold and unravel. As she rolls from one inspirational encounter to another her view on the world and on husband David’s work dramatically changes. Even frequent phone calls back home aren’t enough to ground her as she’s whisked away by eccentric strangers and cuts loose. Each significant moment in the play is book-ended by a short movement piece, accompanied by a strong, repetitive drum beat.


 

The whole piece is infectious and completely disarming. Mainly that is down to Woof’s performance; her Dotty is hapless and harmless, at least on the face of it, the type of character which endears themselves to the audience without even trying. A dry and classically British sarcasm seeps through in her delivery style - her comic timing and ability to deliver the laugh out loud hammer blow is perfect. And yet there is an inherent sadness in Dotty which is also present throughout; a sort of uncomfortable vulnerability as though we’re watching something we shouldn’t be.


Blizzard is delightful. A surreal trip into the mind of a woman herself exploring what it means to love someone and how we should live our lives - sprinkled with the perfect amount of irreverence. Performed and directed with an abundance of cheek and wit, it is a really enjoyable watch. If circular thinking by a psycho cow can be this much fun; get me to the farm!

 

Blizzard plays at the Soho Theatre until 25 May 2024. For more information visit: https://sohotheatre.com/events/blizzard/ 

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