Review On Anna St. Hesia Dreams

Raymond-Kym Suttle


For me this was a niche-market play - because of the fantasy element of it - and I think a lot of people may not have come to see it simply because they really didn't know what it was going to be about, which is a pity because it was well-worth seeing. I enjoyed it thoroughly - great writing and superb acting.

Let me start by saying that this is going to be a glowing review, but I also want to preface this review by saying that, a) I'm a very harsh critic, b) I've seen very little at the Fringe that I've loved 100% but this came close, c) I don't see any value in being uncritical - as creators we have to take criticism and use it if we are to grow and develop.

That being said, as someone who has very high standards for what I find good theatre, this play hit the mark.

There was a section at the beginning of the play that I got lost - I felt like I was playing catch up with the text because there's a lot of unfamiliar terminology, and unfamiliar names of characters and I didn't really know what was going on for a good 10 minutes as the text jumped from a reality within a reality within a reality. In many ways this felt like a short story/prose piece that needed to be read to truly appreciate the skill of the story weaving, and I think it would make a great short story.

However, once I had caught up I was delighted by both the language of the script and the performance.

Drew has a talent for language and writing poetically that I envy. He creates beautiful imagery with his words and it was a unique story that I ultimately found very moving, even though, truth be told, I wasn't entirely sure what point, if any, was being made. One section that got me thinking was the moment when Anna starts talking about how we can never know the moment we fall asleep - we lose consciousness and we may have a form of consciousness when we start dreaming but that transition seems to be unobservable (perhaps some shamans/meditators can do it?).

Jinny is a fantastic actress. She slipped effortlessly between naturalism and caricature (this is in no way a critical term, just a description of her delightful and entertaining broad characterization for the people who populate this fantasy landscape). I really appreciated the fact that she managed to create at least 6, maybe more, distinct characters replete with vocal, physical and personality traits. Her physicality in terms of creating magical gestures as she 'dream-weaved' was wonderful to watch.

As a director myself, I was transported away from my critical brain and just relaxed into enjoying her performance - and then at the end of the show was immediately wondering what I could cast her in myself!

I loved the use of voice overs and some of the visual gags, like the pertinently timed blackouts and the flip-chart messages at the end. Some great directorial choices!