I Hope Your Flowers Bloom

Aug 16 2023 | By More

★★★★☆      Lyrical

Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30): Wed 2 – Sun 27 Aug 2023
Review by Allan Wilson

I Hope your Flowers Bloom is a beautifully lyrical monologue in which writer and performer Raymond Wilson, presented by All the Figs at the Storytelling Centre, shows his obsession for trees and other plants, even quoting the Latin name of every tree he mentions.

Growing up in a working-class housing scheme in Glasgow is hard for Wilson as this skinny, sensitive child doesn’t fit in and is bullied. A sycamore tree becomes a safe space for him as he climbs into its branches to escape the local, homophobic ‘coyotes’. While he waits for the bullies to depart he becomes fascinated by the sycamore keys raining down about him as the tree shakes in the breeze.

Raymond Wilson in I Hope Your Flowers Bloom. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

After leaving school, his studies are interrupted by the pandemic and the move to online learning. He has friends in exotic locations such as Dubai, but his own life is restricted to a five mile circle within walking distance of his home. Wilson is devastated when the pine tree that was a fixture of the view from his bedroom window throughout his childhood is cut down to make way for more housing and becomes determined to escape the greyness of Glasgow.

Turning to Social Media to seek validation, an escape comes through a friendship with Flo, a slightly older, middle-class English woman who has turned a van into her home and adopted a nomadic lifestyle. Wilson finds it hard to express his deep feelings for Flo and they slowly realise they are looking for different things from life. The relationship wilts and Wilson has to look for a new connection with nature.

near permanence

Compared to the short life of human relationships, there is a near permanence to some of Scotland’s ancient trees: Douglas firs living for over 1,000 years, the Birnam Oak, providing inspiration for Shakespeare and the Fortingall Yew, estimated to be 5,000 years old.

Raymond Wilson in I Hope Your Flowers Bloom. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

Wilson is an engaging and energetic performer, working well with director Fiona Mackinnon to create a real theatrical experience. James Johnson’s ingenious set is composed of stacks of large blocks, that initially appear as unfeatured, but which rotate to reveal different scenes – clouds in the sky, trees in leaf, gorse bushes in full bloom.

The production is enjoyable throughout and gives the audience a lot to think about with regard to the lives of young working class men and the need to be able to connect with nature.

Running time: One hour (no interval)
Scottish Storytelling Centre (Netherbow Theatre), 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR (Venue 30)
Wednesday 2 – Sunday 27 Aug (not 9, 13, 16, 20)
Daily at 4pm (not 9, 13, 16, 20)
Tickets and details: Book here.

All The Figs links

Instagram: @allthosefigs



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