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Flowers for the Chateau

Rebekah Bowsher
Graeae Theatre Company

Julie Graham as Julia and Naomi Wirthner as Lisbeth Credit: Graeae Theatre Company

The second of Graeae’s new series of Crips Without Constraints, all written and directed by disabled creatives, is in the form of a video call in which the mothers of a recently engaged couple introduce themselves to each other.

Lisbeth (Naomi Wirthner) knows her son Adam’s girlfriend’s mum lives in a chateau, so she perhaps feeling a bit intimidated and also a bit bolshie when she goes onto Zoom. Adam has said he and his fiancée will be there but they aren’t, then suddenly her future in-law Julia (Julie Graham) is online. Is this going to be a happy getting together or more like a conflict?

Julia seems very confident but Chateau Chirac isn’t such a grand place and it's probably that she already knows who Lisbeth is, for this isn’t their first meeting, for, as a shocked Lisbeth realises, they once were lovers—until Julia ended thing with a postcard.

A web hiccup shuts their children out so for the next ten minutes, until they get back online, there is a delightful mix of recriminations and positive thinking that gets spirited performances from both actresses. There is a warmth and a wit that Hana Pascal Keegan’s direction lets flourish and the result is both touching and very funny. Don’t miss it.

Like all this series, Flowers for the Chateau is captioned and audio described to make it as fully accessible as possible and on Thursday there is a BSL vodcast in which two Deaf artists explore the theme of the play (with subtitles and voiceover for those without it).

Reviewer: Howard Loxton