Cotton Wool Kid explores the experience of walking on the razor’s edge in a love story where beauty, life and sweet dreams plunge into the darkness of a nightmare, an irreversible bitter reality.
Written and directed by Zoe Hollyoak, the play stands out for its well-developed script.
We enter the story through an incident that leads to love and follow the protagonists’ emotional lives for more than 20 years. For at least half of this journey both nurse a hole in their lives.
Yet, they can still both find humour in events and so we, the audience, laugh with them.
The leads, Emily Brennan as Sophie and Ben Mortley as Tim, are commendable at conveying the vicissitudes and extremes of emotions, and Emily is particularly excellent in Sophie’s sweet moments.
Morgan Owen flexibly morphs into several characters, from a hospital nurse to a policewoman, reporter, and even a random lover.
The performers frequently address the audience directly as they narrate their own story, flying in time and squeezing several years into just a few words, achieving a remarkable sense of pathos and humour.
Minimal staging and set make it possible to instantaneously transport the story to many locations.
At one point the audience become patrons in a karaoke bar, and a drunk Sophie briefly draws a few unsuspecting viewers into the play.
The projection of simple sketched images portraying details and moments in the character’s lives makes the play float between fantasy and reality.
The overall effect was dark yet bright, funny and bitter, heartbreaking but hopeful.
Give this locally developed production a chance, and you too will experience a gamut of emotions.