The Soaking of Vera Shrimp

The Soaking of Vera Shrimp may seem at first like a fairly quirky premise. A one-woman play, it follows the eponymous Vera, a fourteen-year-old girl on the verge of adulthood who can feel different emotions when she touches raindrops. These emotions range from melancholy to rage, with Vera documenting each one in her journal. However, this metaphorical feeling of emotion is then overtaken by a notably unquirky, heart-rending story of Vera’s grief and how she copes with it.

We are able to get inside Vera’s head and end up carrying her attitude as we leave the theatre; that life is painful and emotions are confusing, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

The way that grief is portrayed throughout the production is innovative yet wonderfully simple. Grief is arguably one of the hardest emotions to convey in any art form as it is difficult to pin down and often contradictory. Yet by using a mixture of sound production, monologues and even audience participation, The Soaking of Vera Shrimp is largely successful. In other hands it could seem somewhat pretentious or kooky but Rosie Kellagher directs with such poise and tenderness that what could be gimmicky turns out to be often overwhelming emotional experiences for the audience.

Tessa Parr as Vera is outstanding, relishing the stage as the character. Throughout the show she is utterly charming and a complete joy to be around. However, don’t assume she’s just a bubble of positivity; as the show progresses Vera begins to crack, revealing her to be just as emotional and complicated as everyone else. There’s not one moment that you don’t believe Parr as this essentially confused yet wonderfully unique teenager.

What is most impressive is the show’s believability and truthfulness. Undoubtedly it has its quirks yet the emotions and layers of grief it is attempting to portray are crystal clear. We are able to get inside Vera’s head and end up carrying her attitude as we leave the theatre; that life is painful and emotions are confusing, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Reviews by Will Roberts

The Assembly Rooms

Immigrant Diaries: Sajeela Kershi and Guests

★★★★
Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom

Sajeela Kershi: Shallow Halal

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Chris Dugdale: Sleightly Dishonest

★★★
Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Ally Houston: Shandy

★★
The Assembly Rooms

Tom Stade: You’re Welcome!

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

During an almighty rainstorm, 14-year-old Vera discovers she has a remarkable gift. She can read raindrops, each one having soaked up an emotion from those the water has come into contact with. But as her family disintegrates, Vera's extraordinary ability takes on a darker and more urgent significance. Part science lesson, part story-telling, this is a poignant and playful solo-show about love, grief and never giving up. 'Elegant, sweet, touching' (Audience Review). 'Funny, heart-breaking and really compelling' (Audience Review). Winner Live Theatre and Empty Space bursary award 2013.