Chapter, Wed 18 Jul 2018
Flours is a one-hour, two-woman theatre production by Big Loop Theatre Company which explores what it is to be a woman, in particular a woman in a woman’s body, via the medium and metaphor of baking.
I’m not particularly sure why baking was chosen here, but it’s as good an analogy as any (which is, perhaps, the point), and lends itself well to various forms of humour such as slapstick, satire, and pun. Unsurprisingly, ‘bun in the oven’ and ‘the timer is ticking’ are both taken in literal, logical ways, with one of the two excellent actors (Allie Downing and Kitty Hughes, who also wrote the play) giving ‘birth’ to a loaf of bread at one point, and eggs literally bouncing across the floor as timers tick and ping madly.
However, whilst there was a lot of laughter in the theatre, the madcap style was only one, elegantly interlaced ingredient of the cake, as it were, with philosophical query, personal narrative, and thoughtful observation also a good part of the mix.
Thus, one is able to make quite a heavy list of topics covered by or touched on in the play: loneliness; self-worth; co-dependence; aging; childbirth; assault; sex education; self-exploration. At the same time, although these subjects are awarded depth, portrayed beautifully in the production’s writing, acting, and direction, and do therefore touch us as an audience, the interplay of humour means that this show is as heartening as it is heart-rending; as thought-provoking as it is laughter-inducing.
I found the balance and flow of these elements within the play to be very well done indeed. At no point did this particular souffle become top-heavy or collapse… And there was nothing I can point to which was over-egged… The pace was egg-cellent, the writers clearly used their loaf and did not waffle, the tone was sometimes – rye, but never, ever half-baked…
But, the bread and baking metaphors could go on and on. I really enjoyed this show and thought about it long after I’d left the proving oven (sorry). Big Loop Theatre Company deserve to rake in a lot of dough (ah……). Flours is a superb piece of theatre, intelligent as well as entertaining, and I highly recommend it.
words Mab Jones