Slowly but Surely (for my father) is the creation of Gemma Thorne’s love and loss of her father, and the retelling of hardships through art. With an enlightening mix of poetry, music, singing, meditation, and a touch of taboo, Gemma and a small group of local and up and coming artists perform for well over an hour and a half.
The cast consists of five people including Gemma. The first, Kayla Ikeboh, is an incredible singer and guitarist who interplays her music with Gemma’s spoken word poetry. Ollie Patterson played the violin as an accompaniment to the poetry periodically throughout the performance. His music is extremely complimentary to Gemma’s poetry and it captivates the audience every time he plays.
Gemma is not the only one to share her story in the show, as a second poet and friend of hers, Kynesha Temple-Varcoe, explores her story with Psychosis through spoken word poetry.
Lastly, Rana Kokcinar leads the meditation sessions at the beginning and end of the show to relax and ground the audience. Given the darker and sombre topics evoked in this performance the meditation gives the audience a way to get in the right headspace and reaffirms safe human connection with those around you.
The show celebrates the power of therapy, and Gemma’s evolving outfits show this brilliantly. As the show progresses her outfits become louder, with increasing amounts of pink sequins, as she retells her traumas and challenges through poems. Her presence is very animated as she speaks, to the point that in some moments she seems rather young, which is juxtaposed by the heavy content in her words.
With three acts and two intermissions, the show looks like the set of an indie music video. With a projector image shining over them showing a cut-up, retro-style, family holiday video interspaced with random snippets of other things, and decorated with fairy lights, vines, paper love hearts, and chairs backed with upside down angel wings.
The room of Goodwood Studios is transformed into a safe space for their art, which is telling in the form of the seating arrangement, which consists of mismatched chairs, fluffy cubes and cushions on the floor for the front row. The nearby trainline only adds to the show’s atmosphere, rather than detracting when a train rattles past.
The climax of the show is made by Gemma singing her own song, accompanied by the cast, in a fun and cute moment.
This show is Gemma’s way of encouraging radical vulnerability and honesty because she thinks it will set everyone free. So, with pink glitter stuck to happy tears, this young group of people will take you on a journey celebrating the power of therapy, sharing ones story, and human connection.
“Even when you go down the rabbit whole alone, you have to come out the other side.”