The comedic flare of an episode of My Family merged with the seriousness of a sharped edge BBC drama, A Flat Full of Chandeliers gives audiences an honest and engaging tale of family life during the Christmas season. Filled with themes of love, despair, poverty and in some cases a desire for change and much needed success within each characters own complex life.
Gene, Teresa, Scarlett and Jack are a somewhat close knit family with simmerings of tension prominent within their relationship. As the house is being decorated and prepared for the special day, supported of course by Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’, Teresa (the typical mother at Christmas) is running rampant to make sure all aspects of the day are perfect. Gene, a typical dad, (With a few exceptions of course….) is sitting reading his paper and generally making a mess of the house by just being in it. These two characters match the playful nature of many parents during the holiday season though it is clear from the earlier stages of the piece that the father is most dominant over his rather ‘scattery’ wife, who pretty much tends to his every wish. However, as the story continues and brings the family further apart, after certain financial issues become clear and gifts are exchanged, Teresa definitely is not to be meddled with when her built up frustration erupts, leaving her rather bigoted husband stunned and apologetic. The young spirited Scarlett and Jack have a sibling relationship that can only be described as competitive and argumentative, but underlined with a true love they both obviously feel for one another. Reminding many audience members of their own childhood rivalries, and the urge to outdo one another at any possible moment.
Overall, the piece is well executed, well-acted and generally well developed. A nice mix of Christmas cheer and frivolities, with a deep rooted discomfort that is particularly highlighted during the holiday season. The careful and truthful portrayal of a family disgruntlement such as this is refreshing to see and takes care to focus on each character with equal attention and sensitivity. Very well worth watching before the big day as it will open your eyes to the meaning and realistic tendencies common during a very stressful, as well as enjoyable time of the year. 3.5/5.
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
A Flat full of Chandeliers is currently showing at the Hen and Chickens Theatre until Saturday 19th December. For more information on the production, visit here…