Scatter of Opinion

Friendly

Cow
Jessica Barker-Wren
@Underbelly Cowgate

Cow 12

Expectations: 3/5
Reality Rating: 3/5
Fidget Factor: 0.5

Cow and Me

Rural Devon. 200 miles from the familiar buzz of the big smoke, London town. Beth is beckoned home to run the farm due to her fathers ill health. Overwhelmed with the pressures, Beth projects her feelings of angst, loss and fear on to her beloved cow, Friendly. Asking local farmers for a tractor to borrow or rent without signalling what for, Beth conceals her real motivations.

A previously unexamined consequence of Brexit, Barker Wren’s play looks at what leaving the EU will do for British farming and the people who’s lives centre around it. Looking at women in particular, Beth takes on the main role from her father, a position she never aspired to but felt bound to. The rural backdrop of Devon provides the play with an echo of isolation and struggle, relevant to Beth’s current emotional state.

A large, shaggy red cow fills the stage, a young girl flopped onto it’s back. Visually thrilling, this one woman production gets off to a good start. Stripping from her Barbour jacket, Barker Wren reveals a glittering green cat suit which she dances around in, cardboard chainsaw in hand. This production is bizarre and unexpected. The collection of welsh songs are gracefully sung, adding another rural element to the production whilst also echoing Beth’s mothers influence. Even with all these engaging elements the performance doesn’t captivate the audience and feels stunted. Holding conversations between multiple characters is always difficult in a solo performance, Barker Wrens physicality is cumbersome and clunky. The entire production could do with more direction, tightening up scenes and developing the performers presence.

Opt for something rural in the city of Edinburgh with Cow, currently playing at the Underbelly Cowgate.

Click for Tix: @Underbelly Cowgate

Time: 1 Hour
Running:  22 Aug 17► 27  AUG 17

♥ Thanks to Greg for the Cardboard Chainsaw illustration

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