Devised by Matthew Lloyd, Molly Freeman, William Aubrey-Jones &Carly McConnell
Music: Emily Appleton Holley
Reviewer: Elizabeth Vile
“After being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, Ted goes on a trip of a lifetime…and so does his pet fish”Performed as part of the Little Angel Firsts Festival, Cell tells the heartwarming story of Ted, a man who when diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) decided to make the most of the time he has left by traveling round Europe
The love and affection the actors felt for this piece was clearly demonstrated and these emotions quickly won over the hearts of the audience. By introducing ‘Ted’ to the audience at the end of his journey and then going back in time to watch the slow invasion of the disease meant that the puppeteers could really show the progression of the disease and how it took over Ted’s body. This also allowed the audience to understand the importance of good, enduring memories for MND sufferers.
The three performers (Matthew Lloyd, Molly Freeman &William Aubry-Jones) were highly focused and created a slick and seamless performance. The puppets were all very believable and well-constructed; the simplicity of the manipulation of the fish was perfect. The performers occasional moments as characters within the piece also added pathos and humor when required.
The original music composed by Emily Appleton-Holley was pivotal in creating the changing mood of the piece and the choice to link certain movements with the music worked very well. The set was also utilized effectively and the shadow puppet work was beautiful and gave the piece a whole new dimension that added needed detail to the piece.
The only element that weakened some of the audience’s engagement in the piece was the view. Due to the lowness of the stage and the limited rake of the seats there were moments throughout the show which sadly could not be seen. This was such a shame as it did detract from the production as a whole by weakening the audience’s connection to the piece. A few times one side of the audience was laughing at something the other side of the audience could not see.
Overall this is a beautifully constructed and performed piece that explores the subject of MND in a gentle, calm but ultimately awe inspiring way.
Runs until 22nd March, then plays Greenwich Theatre 17th-19th April, future dates at www.cell-show.co.uk