We wanna be free, we wanna be free to do what we wanna do
And we wanna get loaded and we wanna have a good time
Loaded – Primal Scream
Having already successfully performed in one-woman shows such as Henry V, Lion of England, Eleanor Dillon-Reams returns with a self-penned play, set in the present day.
Directed by Jess Tucker Boyd, HoneyBee focuses on Kate, a young graduate who like her friends, has to contend with making a go of it in her 20s. For Kate and her social circle, festivals are a reminder of a time before responsibilities and ‘real life’ kicked in. A large part of the show is devoted to Kate’s night out with friends Melissa and Nile, but its true significance is unveiled slowly over the show’s duration.
From the off, Dillon-Reams plays around with the use of time. Mimicking the effect of taking ‘pills’, Kate’s state-of-mind jumps back and forth between ‘being lost in the moment’ when dancing, and the quieter instances when there’s nothing to distract her from her thoughts.
While Kate’s night out is rich in detail and we acquire an intimate knowledge of her social circle and ‘liaisons’, it is at ‘home’ where we see Kate’s relationship with her father and what worries her. ‘Mundane’ activities such as watching television acquire a greater resonance as we see Kate’s perspective on her own life and how little ‘control’ she thinks she has. Her anecdote about what she wants to be when she grows up: “27” – the age she thinks her life will be sorted and ‘perfect’ – is both poignant and touching. Of course we know that there’s no perfect age when everything comes together, but that is the perspective of adulthood.
Coming full circle, Kate’s state of mind returns to the present, but the mosaic of words and images she collates crystallizes into a revelation that brings no comfort with its clarity…
In all likelihood, HoneyBee won’t be taken to Edinburgh until 2019, which frankly I’m gutted about. Everybody should get to see it. It’s that good.
© Michael Davis 2018
HoneyBee ran at Tristan Bates Theatre on 13th April. It will also be performed at the Brighton Fringe Festival on Saturday 5th May (9pm).