Transferred from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe with multiple praise, Sam Ward’s play We Were Promised Honey! hits London with this interactive hour-long monologue that questions the choices we make and provokes philosophical thoughts. If you are a dreamer, settle in.
Performer and writer, Sam Ward’s unfamiliar composition oscillates from story-telling to audience interaction. Both in tandem with each other ultimately revealing the same truth; our uncertain future. The story tells the account of a baggage handler, Richard Russel, who in 2018 stole an empty plane without any knowledge of how to fly and with no intention of ever landing it; we are then led through a cliff-hangered tale to find out his fate. The interaction leads us through 3 exercises with separate audience members where Ward breaks the fourth wall. We are left questioning the far out future in the next century or millennium of time.
Ward’s clearly didactic and Brechtian approach was helped by the use of a traverse, black box stage creating an intimate space where we had consistent awareness of each other’s reactions. Brought even more to vision by bright and effective lighting by David Doyle and moody sound by Carmel Smickersgill. Ward also managed to create a space that felt safe where if you did not want to interact, you did not have to.
Charmed throughout by Ward’s unusual storytelling and format, interesting questions also arise to our minds. Statements that remind us 300 years from now the world will be excruciatingly hot and war could have devastated the natural world get our thinking caps on. We ask ourselves whether or not these events are determined by previously existing causes, whether our choices impact our fate and can we take responsibility and ultimately if we don’t should we just rely on this moment now to find meaning in our lives?
Wondering at times if this was a stimulating play for theorists or a bleak preach about the climate emergency, the doom of a nuclear war or various other natural disasters that ran too flat to properly inspire us. Looking around at an introspective looking audience, there is no doubt this play made us think.
We are left on a cheerful tone where we sing together and sum up the play; yet still I came out somewhat confused; also wondering if this in itself had relevance! Ward’s show was original and provocative; it motivated a level of relevant questioning about our own choices and responsibilities, and there is nothing ever wrong about doing that.
We Were Promised Honey is at Soho Theatre until 3rd December