Six months on from its first showing at the Battersea Arts Centre, Will Dickie is back at Camden People’s Theatre Sprint festival with his solo show Memories of Suburbia, a beautiful piece in memory of his nan.
A sincere physical performance, Dickie gracefully bares his childhood on stage for us, of memories with his nan and dancing on suburban streets. Consumed by faded lighting, the darkness surrounding him constantly echoes faded memories and the missing of his nan, delicately emphasised with interwoven verbatim snippets of his nan’s voice.
Great praise must be given to Dickie for creating and curating the show by himself and the clear hard work and heartache put into its devising. Acknowledgement must also be given to Dickie’s one bit of support from Martin Langthorne’s touching lighting design, a man who knows the true power of a blackout and faded lighting. Langthorne’s lighting design brings warmth to the show whilst encased in darkness: we don’t see Dickie dancing and gliding around a small black-boxed room at Camden People’s Theatre, but dancing on a dark night under lampposts on a suburban street. Watching Dickie dashing and darting in and out of the sheer darkness and carefully placed ambient lighting was in itself a beautiful image to watch. Not only is this piece powerful, but also the beauty and aesthetics of the stage combined with Dickie’s fluid and jarring movements are truly mesmerising and hypnotic.
Images of Dickie methodically slipping on his nan’s clothing, adjusting a grey plaid skirt to the perfect position, reverberates in your mind the perfection within your own grandparents. Remembering your own childhood memories, the act of dressing up in your grandparents’ closet of treasures. This isn’t just a tribute to Dickie’s nan but a boy remembering the joys and freedom of the carefree escapism that is your grandparents’.
Time is the most prominent and important message in Memories of Suburbia – a shortage of time to be more precise. Using circles and images of clocks to represent a shortage of time, Dickie lays out a makeshift clock made out of his nan’s crockery set. Speeding around the stage in a circle, the round crockery, glass crystal bowls, tumblers and even the rolling of Dickie’s head mimic time ticking by. In all aspects of the show, Dickie cleverly teaches us to cherish our time and even represents this in making the show a short 35 minutes. The timing itself a shock to the system, much like you feel when something is cut off short and ends too early.
Dickie’s show iterates how we should cherish the moments we have with our loved ones and those we look up to. Those loved moments with your grandparents where nothing matters in the world. As before you know it, in the speed it takes to have a smashed china plate, the people you love are gone. Which is what makes this show so powerful, nostalgic and heart-breaking.
Memories of Suburbia was at Camden People’s Theatre 10th March. For more information go to the Camden People’s Theatre website.