I first saw “Lilly Through The Dark” up in Edinburgh the August gone and it truly astounded me. Being an emotionally retarded person (if I do cry or feel this thing they call love, it’s normally brought on by incredible wonderment and not another person)River People Theatre Company’s production made me cry in Bedlam Theatre in August this year. The auditorium was packed and collectively we all left sniffling and had the great excuse of the rain covering for our tears as we ventured back out. I had been so moved that I wished I had dragged someone along to see it with me rather than smiling fondly in the rain after.
The show follows Lilly (as featured in the photograph) who is a young girl saddened by her father’s death. Missing him terribly she embarks on a journey to the underworld to find him and bring him back. Littered with song, excellent puppetry and comedy and more poignant sad moments it was a perfect piece to humour and move all ages. Given the macabre setup it’s never too pretentiously morose and is generally a heart warming tale which we can all identify with or at least care about the outcome.
It’s an energetic piece and although only four members stalk the stage Lilly becomes a fifth member as they all in turn (or together) control her movements and literally breath life into her. It’s an honest piece and what more a whirlwind of imaginative ideas to enjoy. With heart-rending Lilly leading the way we stumble across characters defined by the superb actors physical skills and palette of voices. From the dizty and over-eager Alice to the ghastly Rottenpockets we’re taken on Lilly’s journey and throughout we want her to get what she desires. This tale not only made me cry but more importantly it made me aware of what I was crying about. Normally we’re moved to tears because an actor has provided a great rendition of sadness or someone is merely crying in character (the list is endless). Maybe it’s because Lilly is too young to understand the harsh realities of death and the power of memory but either way it takes an emotionally raw topic and releases it tenderly with cause for celebration. It speaks volumes about being honest and I found it enlightening and powerful. With spoken verse and a mandolin providing the playfully and lilting live score it’s a perfect bundle to expose to another person. Which is what I did, I took a friend and she most certainly enjoyed it. Upon seeing it the second time round I can safely say I had an increased admiration for it and was glad that this time I had shared the experience. Regress to childhood or simply feel warm on the inside, it has it all.