Review: Wild Waxflower (Camden Fringe, online)

Siane Faye writes, directs and performs this engaging solo piece for the Camden Fringe, in the debut show for No Salad Productions.

Wild Waxflower, over a hour’s running time, chronicles a young woman’s first journey into an adult entertainment club from her viewpoint and perspective. You even get a sense of ‘behind the scenes’ location scouting and show planning in a post-credit sequence.

Paced deliberately slowly so that an audience can make their own assumptions of what the character is feeling at each point, this is a play which succeeds in creating a harsh underworld and a woman within it.

For the first twelve minutes (and at times thereafter) we only the immediate and ambient sounds of her actions and the city’s bustle, before she notices us and starts, cautiously, to unfold and blossom.

Wild Waxflower deals with guilt, religion, upbringing, sexuality, shame, feminism and deep secrets as the story progresses.

Set in a grubby alley, this young woman, a tutor, at first displays body language which acts as a barrier. As she proceeds into the story of the club, she changes, gaining in confidence, embracing her fate.

This is a poignant piece which keeps you at arm’s length but still touches your heart, as we watch Faye transform herself into someone outwardly quite different.

Almost a work of mime and physical theatre with gestures and silence often substituting for dialogue, Wild Waxflower chooses words wisely, but still revels in a certain amount of theatricality in its staging and filming.

Viewet turns voyeur in this space, audience turns accessory. This is no simple story about exploitation, coertion, consent or abuse, but a more complex play which attempts to start a conversation about identity and what characterises it.

Fringe rating: *** (and a half)

You can see Wild Waxflower each evening at 6pm in the Camden Fringe’s digital programme- see here for details and tickets.