The Wrong Crowd’s latest play, The Kite, tells the emotional tale of a recently orphaned young girl (Amy Blair) who moves in with her grandmother (Rosy Fordham). Despite their initial struggles, through the course of the play the pair become closer; guided by a magical kite, they go from sitting in awkward silences to showing each other love and affection. It is a roller coaster of emotions for a play only lasting one hour.
Told through puppetry, Blair and Fordham communicate exclusively through their body language. This runs the risk of being over-acted and caricature-like. However, the actresses convey their emotions and thoughts without exaggeration, for example when Blair fidgets with the cutlery on the table to express her boredom with, and disinterest in, her Grandmother. Furthermore, in the absence of speaking, the stage crew (Elisa de Grey and Jack Dorning) heavily utilises ambient sounds to bring the audience into the atmosphere of the performance. In a tense moment between the grand-daughter and grandmother, the crew shake tins and items on the shelves of the set, replicating the unsettled atmosphere.
The performance is cleverly executed. The puppets are hardly amateurish with multiple people operating them to create fluid movement. The crew are well rehearsed and work together to perform with commendable fluidity. Designer Charlotte Neville’s set is imaginative and charming. Instead of crafting a realistic London scene, she has constructed the set from everyday items turned into something magical. For instance, the London Eye is a white umbrella with fairy lights around the outside. This produces a set that clearly represents London, but also matches the charming nature of the play. That is because it mimics the slight fantasy of the story and the airiness of the puppets flying over London with a kite.
However, the silence sometimes distracts from the play. The majority of the time the designers use sound cleverly to add to the play’s meaning. However, the crew occasionally fill the silence with soft music that can make the play feel slightly too dreamy.
The overall success of the play is demonstrated by its wide audience appeal. It may have a simplistic plot, but in combination with its style and silence, this results in an innocent and charming performance.