If you’ll forgive the ad pitch, flowers suit nearly every occasion. A loving declaration, celebratory congratulations, or a sorrowful consolation. Living things that bloom and die, flowers represent beauty and sorrow, life and death. In Funeral Flowers they represent something else – the chance at something new.
Funeral Flowers is a powerfully personal, utterly involving tale of a girl’s struggle to achieve her dream. Written and performed by Emma Dennis-Edwards, Funeral Flowers tells the story of Angelique, a 17-year-old whose ambition to become a florist is complicated and jeopardised by teenage pressures, unscrupulous boys and carers who mean well, but cannot possibly understand.
Emma Dennis-Edwards is simply fantastic. Her portrayal of a teenager is not only believable but charming, funny, and endearing. She captures the innocence of youth as well as its cheek, which proves all the more painful and heart-breaking as her story moves to much darker territory.
I loved the direction from Rachel Nwokoro, who makes full use of Bunker Theatre’s cavernous space. Audience members are brought into the world of the play and quite literally taken on a journey, from arranging flowers to being invited to a house party. I was impressed with how Rachel and Emma made the play feel so much bigger than its central character, and how much more alive a show can feel when you are not just sitting watching, but are involved in the action.
Funeral Flowers is not without its tough moments, but these are handled with sensitivity and care. One scene in particular is not easy to watch, but serves as a vital reminder of the pressures and mistreatment young women can face when it comes to abuses of trust and love. In the end, flowers come to mean much more than an ambition for Angelique, but rather a symbol of renewal, articulated by Emma with vivid imagery and stirring performance.
Funeral Flowers is a wonderful play, and another great entry in a quietly revolutionary season. With Funeral Flowers, the Bunker continues to prove it’s very much in bloom.
Author: Emma Dennis-Edwards
Director: Rachel Nwokoro
Box Office: 0207 234 0486
Booking Link: https://www.bunkertheatre.com/whats-on/funeral-flowers
Booking Until: 4 May 2019