Mitch and Murray Productions, in association with Red Gate Revue Stage, are presenting the Canadian premiere of SNOWFLAKE until December 23 on Granville Island.
A critically-acclaimed festive story by Olivier Award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett, SNOWFLAKE is likely a far truer depiction of many families’ Christmas than the time-tested holiday plays we’re used to seeing this time of year. Written and set in 2019 England, SNOWFLAKE takes an intense look at today’s generational divides.
Widower Andy (played by Aaron Craven) clings to a world gone-by, preferring his nostalgic television, vinyl albums, a good pint, bangers and mash. His twenty-something daughter, Maya, (Anni Ramsay) is a festival goer, fights for progress and has a secret plan to bring down the government. But Andy doesn’t really know much of this as three years ago Maya left home, and they haven’t spoken since. However, this Christmas might be different when he hears that Maya is in town, will she come home? Will she stay? Why did she leave? What did he do?
The first act of SNOWFLAKE is almost completely a monologue by Aaron Craven showing us the world from Andy’s point of view. He’s planning for Maya’s return, while revisiting the events that lead up to him believing she may walk through the door any moment. Aaron Craven, with Mike Bartlett’s rapid-fire script, really paints a vivid portrait of a man of a certain generation that we all will likely recognize (especially if you have any English connections). The act ends with Natalie, not Maya, walking through the door much to the audience and Andy’s surprise, to collect dishes from the Church Hall.
Natasha Burnett’s Natalie shakes Andy’s carefully planned Christmas Eve, as well as his carefully controlled life. As the persistent (nosy) Natalie wears him down, Andy finally starts to open up and is made to question his perceptions of the last years. Natasha Burnett’s charisma and chemistry with Craven really brings life to the play’s second act, changing the dynamic for the audience, and Andy, as he is challenged by this stranger. When Anni Ramsay’s Maya finally enters, late in the play, both she and Andy instinctively put up the same walls that likely drove them apart. Can they break them down with Natalie being the moderator in their family dynamic?
Directed by Jennifer Copping, with Set Design by David Roberts leading great realism to the sparse Church Hall setting, and Chengyan Boon’s light design doing the work of changing locations and times. Aaron Craven and Anni Ramsay’s accents hold up very well against Surrey, UK-born Natasha Burnett’s dialect. Almost everyone should be able to recognize some of the arguments and defences depicted in SNOWFLAKE as it challenges all of us to take note of the nuances of generational conflict, family relationships, being open to other opinions and taking it one day at a time to listen and learn.
Mitch and Murray Productions’ SNOWFLAKE plays at Red Gate Revue Stage until December 23, 2021. Tickets and showtimes are on mitchandmurrayproductions.com. Tickets range from $16-$32 with 2 for 1 Night December 14 and Seniors Only performance December 15 at 1pm.