PQA Venues @ Riddles Court – until 26 August 2019
Guest reviewer: Suzanne O’Brien
Exploring grief and the impact of trauma on memory and family relationships, Paradigm Lab’s Pink House by Madison Pollack at PQA Venues is somewhat heartbreaking and completely honest.
Taking place across two interwoven timelines, the play examines the meaning of heritage and belonging in an interesting way that allows you to see the complexities that come with dealing with hardships – whether that be death, loss or troublesome childhoods.
Inspired by Pollack’s family history, the story centres around a dysfunctional relationship between a young adopted Peri and her estranged adopted grandmother, Shira. When Peri’s mother passes away the pair are forced to live together and their differing attitudes towards life cause them to clash in more ways than one.
A tape recorder is used to incorporate the other world – which forces Shira to confront the memories of her childhood. A unique concept which brings a completely different side to an already complex relationship. This narrative asks you to take pity on the grandmother as it shows she experienced a difficult childhood.
Fatima Jawara takes on the role of 15-year-old Peri. Jawara beautifully portrays a suffering with a sense of strength which allows her to deal with the loss of her mother. She conveys a wisdom beyond her years and a relaxed approach to life – the source of many difficulties she has with her grandmother.
Shira, performed by Alice Jackson, possesses very strong Jewish beliefs and shows disappointment with Peri’s lack thereof. Jackson seamlessly incorporates Yiddish into the piece and through her demanding voice she successfully portrays a fierce and not to be messed with attitude.
The messy household is cleverly designed with ribbon and three caged boxes filled with random items that clatter when moved, representing the upheaval the house is in as well as the chaos in the relationships between all characters in both timelines.
Elements of humour give light to the piece, which cleverly further highlights the suffering.
The ideas in this piece are simple yet well executed. The relationship difficulties and the topics of loss and the pain that comes with it are present throughout but could be shown on a deeper level as it only feels like the surface is being scratched – perhaps as a result of the short running time and the two timelines being explored.
Performed in a small and intimate setting, a cast of five young women tell a story of belonging with interesting concepts and honest characters.
Running time – 50 minutes.
PQA Venues @ Riddle’s Court, Lawnmarket, EH1 2PG (Venue 277)
Saturday 10 – Monday 26 August 2019
Tickets and details: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/pink-house