However, thankfully a short scene by Julian Glover, detailing how Plath received her first marriage proposal, was funny, lighthearted and brought the show to life. From then on, I could appreciate this witty, cynical, deep-thinking, complex young woman and all she stood for. The show had a mixture of dialogue, film, songs, animation and readings – highlights being Three Women (directed by Tamara Harvey) – readings of three significant times of Plath’s life interwoven flawlessly and heartbreakingly by Diana Quick, Lynn Farleigh and Federlay Holmes – the birth of her son, the loss of her daughter, and her subsequent breakdown – followed by a beautifully performed Plath Lullaby by the charismatic Jack Harris – it was the lyrics of the lullaby which made us realise the significance of the bees/honey film which opened the show, as Sylvia’s father was a beekeeper.
The show closed with Tom Hollander reading the poem Red, which Ted Hughes (the love of her life) wrote for Sylvia after she died – a poignant, touching end to the story of this remarkable woman who stood for so much that is still important for women today.
The show was a charity gala for the White Ribbon Alliance – a grass-roots organisation championing women’s sexual rights and healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth in the third world.