Victoria Cano’s new play Pomegranate Season, in which she also acts, is as timely as it could be. After #MeToo, the issue of consent, sexual assault and sexism at large is finally taking centre stage.
The play presents an interesting look at what it would feel like if the person who assaulted you was also the person you loved most in the world. The best thing about the piece was its bravery in depicting the complexity of Cora’s (played by Cano) relationship to her assaulter in the aftermath. It feels as if there is a way in which you are “supposed to” respond, which of course in the aftermath of such an incident, will be different for everyone. Pomegranate Season shows us a lesser told story, as well as the impact of these incidents for everyone surrounding them, not only those directly involved.
Despite this, it was hard to know what to take from the play. That there is different ways of dealing with these incidents? That it is complicated? There was not enough context in terms of why this occurred (ie. social, political influences). A lot of time was spent on the one of the main character’s best friend Demi’s response (played by Shalia Alvarez), that perhaps could have been better spent exploring the wider impact or context of sexual assault.
The writing, in particular the dialogue, was mostly witty, quick and often very funny – occasionally falling to cliche but saved by some moments of brilliance. There was a brief and bittersweet interaction with a side character (no spoilers) that was brilliantly written, and brilliantly played by Cherry Walters, it ended with me wishing we could have seen more of her. Her comic timing and presence was a breath of fresh air, and made me wonder how the play would have faired if all of the performances had a little more of her energy.
The naturalistic set design and lighting deserves a nod for the use of space; characters moving seamlessly between settings with small details that put you in each scene in an instant.
The ending to the play felt unrealistic, and very confusing in terms of the location and what was happening within it. I left feeling that Pomegranate Season raised a lot of interesting questions, but offered little resolution. However, perhaps this was the point, and it’s undoubtedly the type of play which you’ll want to discuss for an hour in the pub afterwards. For this reason, go and see it and argue your hearts out afterwards.
Review by Natalie Beech
20 – 22 August