- Ashleigh Bruton
Es and Flo: A total Flo-nomenon
Watching Tuesday night’s performance of Es & Flo felt like a warm cup of tea, with every ounce of this carefully curated production overflowing with love, compassion and care.
Playwright Jennifer Lunn’s latest production captures the perfect balance between the comfort everyone hopes to find in a 30-year relationship, without shying away from the torment and hardship that is met when a loved one exhibits early signs of dementia.
Es & Flo, which is now showing at the Wales Millennium Centre until Saturday May 13th, is incredibly moving in its celebration of mature lesbian love, female resistance and the beauty of a chosen family. As I have recently moved to the Cardiff area, Tuesday night was my first time attending a production at this arts centre, but it certainly won’t be my last. The Wales Millennium Centre felt like the perfect place to house this production, considering its dedication to nurturing talent in and from Wales, as well as the overall welcoming atmosphere that was generated by its lovely staff members.
We are invited into the home of Es and Flo through Libby Watson’s immersive and captivating set design. Through little details such as Flo’s bottle of red wine and the familiar sight of a kitchen kettle, we are reminded that the lives and intimate conversations that take place here are based on real experiences.
This is not only reflected in the characters of Es (Liz Crowther) and Flo (Doreene Blackstock), who are inspired by Jennifer Lunn’s late grandmother, but also the universal experiences they represent. The couple’s dynamic is beautifully emulated throughout the show as we witness a youthful, timeless and refreshing chemistry between these older characters.
The power of memories and how they re-emerge is a poignant focus of Es & Flo. Its intertwining references to Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp transports us back in time to the earlier days of Es’ and Flo’s history, with this historical event of collective female resistance re-emerging in the present day through the show’s diverse and intergenerational female cast.
As we uncover more about Es’ condition, it’s truly moving to witness the strong female solidarity that forms between these women. Ultimately, Es & Flo succeeds in capturing the complex and multi-faceted anguish that comes along with dementia from not only the sufferer but those who bear witness to their unpredictable suffering.
Es and Flo is now showing at the Wales Millennium Centre, and tickets are already limited. Secure your seat by following this link.