This is a charming show which employs shadow puppetry and shadow ballet to retell the Greek myth of Persephone from her perspective, without words. Although it does not exploit the medium it uses to its full potential, this is a visually and emotionally engaging piece of theatre.
Pomegranate Jam is a creative retelling of a powerful story.
Some of the shadow scenery is intricately and creatively designed, such as the depiction of the underworld using shadows of frayed string coming down from the top of the screen to look like tree roots. Unfortunately, not all of the scenery is so imaginatively crafted; the flowers which rise in spring are simplistic cut-outs, and the shadow of the grass is rather inelegant next to the excellent detail of a gnarled old tree.
The same mixture of delicacy and coarseness pervades other aspects of the show. Whilst some scene changes are flawless and visually intriguing in their own right – quite a feat – others disrupt the energy of the piece due to their awkward length. The live background music, which is very suited to the piece in genre, is sometimes pretty and delicate, and at others simplistic and repetitive.
One of the strengths of the piece is the correlation between the shadow puppetry and dancing. Each character is represented by one puppet and one dancer, with scenes alternating between the two media. The dances between Hades and Persephone are particularly stunning and intriguing because of the puppet-like power-play which dominated their interaction. Impressive lifts and complex hand movements are used to create interesting two dimensional shapes. At other times, however, movements seem less well thought-through for the medium, resulting in less distinct shadow images.
Pomegranate Jam is a creative retelling of a powerful story. Whilst it isn’t as elaborate as it could be, it is an enjoyable production in an exciting medium.