Bath Fringe Festival, which ran until 10 June, was a two-week long spectacular celebration of the arts. Bath centre was overrun by outdoor performances, and the theatres of Bath opened their doors and put on a range of pieces, including Darlings. Writer Jasmine was invited to the opening night.
Founded in 2017 by University of the West of England (UWE) graduates, the Palomar Theatre Company took their very first performance to the Bath Fringe Festival for three nights. This was their first public audiences since leaving university.
Eve and Gabe, locked in a manipulative ‘relationship’, come home from a night of fun, drinking, and flirting with other people to continue their ‘friends with benefits’ situation that neither of them seem to really want. They dance around poignant topics from marriage to childhood trauma, never wanting to confront the darkness within them – however, to move forward, they both need to.
Darlings, with its venue being the historic Mission Theatre situated on Corn Street, was an hour long piece, written and directed by Eleanor Hope-Jones. Being only an hour long with no interval, time moved quickly and, when the end came, it felt too soon – a testament to how enjoyable the experience was. This character-driven performance explored vulnerability, shame, and the subconscious, getting to the root of how, years later, childhood experiences can have a great impact on the person you will become one day.
It was a thoroughly engaging watch with a small cast of three talented members, consisting of Katie Anderson, Annie Philbin and Toby Robertshaw, with help from Assistant Director, Casey Lloyd, and Lighting Designer, Emmaline Clarke.
It may have had a minimal cast, on-stage plot and set design, but it definitely had a major lasting effect
With a major focus on puppetry, physicality and voiceover, the staging was minimal and, for a character centric piece, it helped ground the audience in the lives of Eve and Gabe. The beginning may have felt a little awkward, possibly due to it being opening night, but it soon flurried into something that had audiences captivated and sad to leave.
Followed by a public Q&A that was open to anyone willing to stay, the cast and crew moved to the small café area upstairs in the theatre. It was a small turnout but every question was answered with vigour and this was when the true appreciation for the piece was shown, with one woman even calling it her favourite Fringe piece yet.
It may have had a minimal cast, on-stage plot and set design, but it definitely had a major lasting effect. The company will soon be travelling to the Edinburgh Fringe festival in August and I cannot wait to see what they do next.