WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE? Kiln Theatre RUNTIME: 115 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)
WHEN? 14/12, press night 16/12, runs to 25/1/20
Andy waits alone on Christmas Eve in an Oxfordshire village hall hoping the daughter who he has not seen for three years will meet him there.
When a mysterious young woman arrives there instead and the strangers strike up easy conversation, she allows him to reflect on why his daughter may have decided to leave him without ever explaining why.
The first 40 minutes of Mike Bartlett’s (King Charles III) three-hander involves only Andy (Elliot Levey paints a vivid picture of a misunderstood and frustrated father and husband) and allows the audience time to walk in his shoes, appreciate his Christmas pudding jumper and enthusiasm for vintage Terry and June episodes.
It may have taken a recent landslide election result to seal the UK’s 31 January 2020 departure from the EU but we finally have a great Brexit play to ruminate on how the issue has divided families but more importantly tapped into the differences between generations.
When we finally meet Ellen Robertson’s daughter Maya she is as convincingly drawn as her father and we can understand what has driven them apart without especially siding with either one. Maya is the titular Snowflake, a term used to deride millennials for their lack of resilience.
Amber James’ Natalie is crucial to the play’s mechanics and she proves an intriguing interloper, drawing out Andy’s true feelings and providing the motivation for Maya to confront what has been troubling her.
Snowflake, the play, is realised beautifully by director Clare Lizzimore with, importantly, affection and compassion for all characters.
Christmas provides an apt setting for this illumination on the power of politics to divide families but also the importance of understanding different generations to reunite them.
Bartlett’s play is both funny and moving and definitely one of the best new plays of 2019.