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Cooking Ghosts – Camden People’s Theatre, London

Reviewer: Jojo Townsend

[rating:3]

Cooking Ghosts is a devised performance piecing together memories from childhood through home movies, puppetry and a specially composed score. Three performers delve bravely into Kristin Fredricksson’s childhood before her mother committed suicide and what happened after with the help of three projectors that layer these memories without a narrative to capture the essence of the time. There is some really smart staging and whenever Fredricksson projects footage of her mother onto her own stomach it mirrors the way her mother once carried her whereas now she carries only memories.

Surprisingly there are moments of pure unbridled joy; within minutes of starting all three performers enter into a hula hoop competition in which they have to keep the hoop spinning around their waist while trying to eat hula hoop crisps off strings around their wrists and necks – it was a great start to the show and is just as bizarre as it sounds. Seiriol Davies really comes alive in these playful moments, especially in an interlude of ‘Kitty Cat Stand Up’ where Fredricksson’s two sisters are embodied by cat puppets describing tyranny they faced as young children under Fredricksson’s ‘reign’ alongside footage so sweet you can’t help but smile.

A huge part of the charm is the messiness and realness of the performance but at times it feels like there is a bit much going on. Towards the end there is a poignant moment of stillness, which is important in what is a painful story and gives the audience the opportunity for reflection. To cap it off two emails written by Fredricksson’s younger sisters about the time shortly after their mother’s suicide are read out which break your heart.

Photo: Alex Brenner

Runs until 17th November

Brighton Fringe Directory

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