Chrysalis

Written by Stephen Scheurer–Smith, the imaginatively titled Chrysalis opens with a guitarist strumming a folky melody. This serves throughout as a delicate backing track to three characters’ struggle for independence. Despite the promising premise, the characters suffer from lack of development and characterization.

With an interesting, loaded title, this play has a lot of potential, but throughout I felt that there was room for more.

We are greeted with four characters: the disillusioned Micky, butterfly-catching Peter, aggressive and unstable Eva and social worker Jennifer. By far the most impressive of the principle trio is Michael Husband as Peter. Rocking in his chair and winding string constantly round his fingers, he seems subdued and anxious. Christine Easterfield’s tone of voice is perfectly suited to her role as the social worker. However, the remaining actors seem half-hearted throughout their performances and, although each character has a rich backstory, this fails to make its way to the stage. It is difficult to imagine the characters we see onstage committing the crimes they claim to have committed in their pasts. This is especially true for Kattreya Scheurer-Smith, who plays Eva, seemingly too mild for her character’s history of aggression.

There are some surprisingly tender parts, such as when the actors sing on stage, but somehow this does not seem enough. With an interesting, loaded title, this play has a lot of potential, but throughout I felt that there was room for more. A more inventive use of lighting or sound and deeper characterization could have transformed this quiet and rather forgettable production into something entirely different.

Reviews by Lottie Scaramanga

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Comedy and tragedy collide in this poignant new drama about moving on. Mickey invents stories, Peter searches for butterflies while Eva tries to control her temper. As the plot unfolds each character reveals more about themselves and why the building they live in has become their chrysalis. A building they know they will have to leave eventually and face the outside world once again. This is Big Squirrel Productions second play by Stephen Scheurer-Smith following the 2012 Fringe success of A Middle-Aged Man’s Uncertainty Theory. ‘Sharp script ... great fun to watch’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Snappy and funny’ (Snipelondon.com).