Kate Marks' fantastical play about two women living in a tree house needs a more consistently inventive production.
The play's action begins in a brightly colored tree house in a land called The Bright Side where Louisy (Cotton Wright) and Syl (Christina Shipp) live in a sheltered ignorance that is decidedly not bliss. Initially, the primary source of their anxiety is that the two birds in their cuckoo clock (named "Cuck" and "Koo") can't be made to stay any longer than it takes for them to sound each hour. Soon, pretty bluebirds are crashing into their windows and ants are marching into the house. The girls can't shut themselves off from the world. Syl eventually leaves for The Lop Side, encountering a war-torn landscape and learning as many life lessons as Louisy, who is left behind in the tree house.
Marks seems to have patterned the play as an unconventional fairy tale save for one essential thing: there isn't a villain. Without one, the play, despite some imaginative writing and its interesting themes, lacks sufficient narrative drive and compelling dramatic conflict. The playwright deserves credit for interestingly writing a pair of females as her main couple, and for playing with ideas that are unique for a fairy tale; for example, love doesn't rule out abandonment, and the reach of war extends beyond where it physically takes place. However, she hasn't created escalating stakes while dramatizing the characters' conflicts.