Lucy Garland and Amber Onat Gregory
Frozen Light
New Wolsey, Ipswich

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The Rebels - 2065 Credit: JMA Photography
Frozen Light - 2065 Credit: JMA Photography
Frozen Light 2065 - audience interaction Credit: JMA Photography

Frozen Light creates shows for those with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) using a number of factors to engage the senses including music with a distinctive beat, interactive light boxes and material that can be handled, tasted and smelt.

But with respect to their audience, this is not just a random light and sound show. This particular tour created by Lucy Garland & Amber Onat Gregory takes the idea of a dystopian society set not so far in the future where music has been banned. So the staging is futuristic with scaffold platforms and neon signs to create the idea of an underground ‘nest’.

Three performers (Lil Davis, Matt Heslop and Iona Johnson) play The Rebels who are keeping independence and music alive and are fighting the authorities for the right to live as they choose.

This is the first time Frozen Light has been back on the road since the first lockdown. Each performance is attended by a limited number of people with PMLD and their carers who are each given their own scaffold ‘nest’ to sit within. I was privileged to be able to attend a performance with them and enjoy the interaction the cast had with each individual and the sheer delight of the audience at what was presented to them.

The actors sign throughout as they tell their simple story, frequently bringing forward items for the audience to feel and smell and light boxes to play with. The original soundscape by Sam Halmarack is in the background throughout and there is also live singing and playing of various instruments by the actors including guitar, trombone and tuba.

One of the most touching aspects of the show is when the cast comes to each audience member and sings them their own song based on their name.

With wind machines, bubbles, scattered petals and even champagne, this is a show that, although the plot seems a sad subject, nevertheless is filled with light and joy and positive affirmations. And most importantly, it felt like a safe space.

Appropriately for the times we have lived through, the theme is working together to create change. Uplifting and poignant, this felt like a theme we had all embraced by the end of the show.

Reviewer: Suzanne Hawkes