FAMILIES are complicated things. So are communities. But, as Tiffany Hosking's new work, Honey, aims to show us, we need them both.
At the heart of the drama is a story of family - family fragmented, family struggling, and finally family creating and rebuilding the connections essential to support them.
Bee-keeper Anwen (Tiffany Hosking) wakes to find that her husband Robert, a bomb disposal expert in the army, has gone, leaving her with their autistic son Caron (Alex Radu) and a determination to create a quilt before Robert comes back. Her sister Celandine (Michelle Moore), named for the flowers carpeting the fields when she was born, takes time out from her tattoo studio and her search for a man of her own to offer not-always-welcome support and becomes involved in the making of the quilt: "I'm good with a needle," she says, as she joins Anwen to first tack and then whip-stitch together the hexagons of fabric in vibrant honeyed shades of yellow.
Like all families, this one has its own secrets and a trip to the local market to sell the honey reveals the thorn in Anwen's side as we meet the sister's half-sibling, born to their father as the result of a fling. Anwen will not hear her name mentioned nor allow Celandine to use the word sister, but when Caron goes missing and a link more powerful than blood is revealed, healing proves possible.
Tiffany Hosking tells an atmospheric story of life in a small community, a story written, as the drama's subtitle - a new play about interconnectedness - explains, to show us that lives are never lived in isolation and that family and community create inescapable bonds. Bees, she tells us without hammering the point home, have got the knack of community exactly right and we could do worse than learn from them about the mutual need for support, a fact subtly underlined by the honeycombed quilt and an inventive set comprising three flexible hives.
This is a small tale, lyrically told and beautifully performed, with a big message.
There is another chance to see Honey at Malvern Cube on Friday, July 8 at 8pm. To book, visit www.malverncube.com