Play’s acclaim is deserved

Rebecca Fenwick was superb  in the title role
Rebecca Fenwick was superb in the title role

Review of Spoonface Steinberg

Performed by Freerange Theatre Company, directed by Hugo Chandor

Friday and Saturday, July 5 and 6, at the Swallow Theatre

Spoonface Steinberg is a play by British playwright Lee Hall, first broadcast as a dramatic monologue on BBC Radio 4 in January 1997. Such was the popular acclaim that the BBC repeated it on Radio 4 the following Saturday afternoon and it has been repeated many times since.

Spoonface is an eight-year-old autistic girl who is dying of cancer – not the happiest of subjects, but the script was sharp, funny, moving, philosophical and positive.

The play brought together the power of music to uplift, calm and engage us; concepts of dying; the Holocaust and going beyond the physical. These were explored and explained through the simplicity of a child’s eyes. “Out of the mouths of babes” immediately springs to mind.

Actor Rebecca Fenwick was superb in the role of Spoonface and her child-like interpretation could not be faulted. In a stunning performance, she captured the pleasure and enthusiasm of a child whose world view is limited yet incisive, full of hope, yet practical about her fate.

After the two performances, Rebecca and Hugo Chandor, director, invited the audience to stay for a Q&A session, which gave the opportunity to discuss not only how they had studied various aspects of autism, but also how Rebecca could so completely master such a challenging script.