Welcome to my stop on the Fridge blog tour! Huge thanks to Renard Press for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
Alice hasn’t been home for a while – for seven years, in fact. But when her little sister Lo tries to take her own life, she has to return to the life she left behind. The change of scenery from London to Norfolk proves quite the culture shock, however, and Alice has to confront what she left behind all those years ago. The sisters’ relationship hasn’t evolved in Alice’s absence, and when she steps through the door she’s plunged back into the same world she escaped from. Set against Norfolk’s bleak landscapes, but masquerading as childhood nostalgia, Fridge is an all-too-familiar exploration of the broken promises of youth, and a bitter exposition of a generation left behind.Renard Press
CW: suicide attempt
This review is going to be slightly different as I’m not going to be adding a star rating; personally, I don’t think you can fully rate and review a play by just reading it rather than seeing it performed. That being said, that doesn’t mean at all that this wasn’t an interesting and gripping read!
This play centres around three main characters, Alice, Lo and Charlie. I really like plays with a small cast of characters, you can really get to know them in a short space of time. Despite this, you only manage to scratch the surface of these characters because of how complex they are which made the play compelling. I was really fascinated by Lo’s character and how she was struggling, I also enjoyed how it wasn’t immediately obvious what it was that caused her to attempt suicide. Her older sister, Alice, often left me conflicted. Although she is going back home to see her sister after hearing the news, she seems to disregard her sister’s mental health often and is going home as a sense of duty rather than anything else. Whilst their interactions can make for tense and uncomfortable scenes it does portray a raw and brutal reality of how everyone can be impacted by family struggles and mental health.
I really liked the inclusion of Charlie as a character in this play and think that he is much needed. Although he has known the sisters since they were children and is very close to them, he is able to act as the audience’s ‘way in’ to the family. It’s often through his dialogue and interactions that we learn about the lives of the girls through information we’re able to piece together. I also liked how his accent was very obviously different from the girls, especially Alice, which illustrated that he portrayed more than just a character but a representation of home too. He also had a boyish charm to him that was a much needed relief in the scenes at times.
In this play Zadow does an excellent job of providing a snapshot into this family which has been slowly falling apart for years. Through the dialogue and the stage directions, it’s clear that Zadow has a great understanding of the stage and I could very vividly see it play out in my mind. I can’t end this review without talking about the fridge itself which is present in every scene in some shape or form. It was interesting to see all of the different functions the fridge could represent from a simple fridge to a sort of childhood prison. It’s through the fridge and other stage directions that you can really see some surreal moments of the play which gives it that additional depth and a feeling of creeping unease which I loved.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this play and would definitely love to see it performed. Whilst reading the script is enough to clearly understand what is going on, there are just some nuances with plays that you can only get on the stage and I think Fridge would be even more brilliant in the theatre than just on the page.