The Honey Bees

21 June 2016 | 2:30 pm | James Daniel

"A well directed, mostly engaging drama with fantastic comic moments."

Red Stitch's new play, The Honey Bees, is a show at odds with itself: at some times gripping and entertaining, and at other times dull and lifeless. It explores the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder, a rising global issue where worker bees abandon their queen. The play follows a linear metaphor: matriarch Joan is abandoned by the workers at her honey farm, and struggles to keep the last remaining help — her family — from following suit.

Despite a rather predictable plot there were some truly engaging scenes, led by excellent staging and fantastic performances (especially from Marta Kaczmarek and Katerina Kotsonis), that explored the characters in a microcosm of hive life. However, this was balanced by drawn-out scenes of stilted conversation that tended to fall into a soporific rhythm; for long periods of time characters would only converse in sentences of five or six syllables followed by a pregnant pause. This laboured dialogue felt more like a disconnect between the script and the performances than a theatrical device, and would carry on for a painfully long time before all of a sudden relaxing and falling into more natural speech patterns. Yet despite this, The Honey Bees is a well directed, mostly engaging drama with fantastic comic moments, a simple story line, great design elements and interesting subject matter.