Palomar Theatre are an imaginative company that bring drama and puppetry to the stage in clever and emotional ways. Eve (Katie Anderson) is a young woman with ambition. She has a difficult relationship with the men in her life; including her father and her boyfriend Gabriel (Toby Robertshaw). When on a night out Gabriel flirts with a waitress (Annie Philbin) and his ignorance exposes a darkness that is deep within. This darkness is presented through the medium of puppetry and it is an arresting and emotional experience.
As the audience enter the performance space at C Aquila we are confronted with Eve. She is sat in a bathtub. She is fully clothed, has a bottle of wine in her hand and listening to the classic 90’s track Lovefool by The Cardigans. This sets the scene and presents a playful tone that is evertually broken. One of the stand out points of Darlings is the script. Eleanor Hope-Jones has written a brilliant story filled with conflict, heart and passion. It is delivered by the cast without missing a beat and the expressive and exciting dialogue draws the audience into Eve’s inner turmoil. When the characters look to the past the tone of the performance changes and the puppetry is introduced. We see childlike representations that convey trauma and indecision.
During Darlings there is a frequent referral to orchids and the need to nurture them in order to grow. This point is not laboured over and delicately presents themes of self-care and personal growth. This growth is fully expressed when Eve confront her father. His physical presence is absent from Darlings and is presented as a menacing voice. This voice has presence, body and weight and counterbalances the elegance of the puppetry. This underlined the imagination and ambition of the performance and shows that Palomar Theatre and Eleanor Hope-Jones have style and talent and the ability to bring their imagination to life. Darlings is a fantastic blend of drama and puppetry and delivered with grace and heart.