Raymond Wilson blends botany and idealised romance in I Hope Your Flowers Bloom, a partially autobiographical hour of storytelling presented as part of this year’s Made in Scotland showcase. Raymond’s story begins in lockdown, pent-up in his teenage bedroom in a grey scheme somewhere in Glasgow, with his hopes for freedom pinned on a tree visible from his window. Not long after, he transfers those dreams of movement and fresh air and adventure to a friend-of-a-friend called Flo, whose life on the road appears glamorously aspirational on Instagram.
A few DMs later and Raymond’s in Flo’s van, headed into Scotland’s wilds. They stroll through forests and swim in lochs, but he finds himself unable to articulate his growing romantic feelings. Worse, when they aren’t together, he’s cooped up in his post-pandemic workplace: a plastic educational rainforest attraction (surely Edinburgh’s Dynamic Earth) which he describes as a “masculine ideal” of nature, controlled and controllable. It’s obviously a metaphor for his frustration with Flo’s unreliability, but even despite a self-aware joke about manic pixie dream girls, Wilson could do more to make her feel less like a projection.
Then again, I Hope Your Flowers Bloom is clearly an anti-rom-com. It offers gentle commentary on damaging masculine ideals and the erosion of green spaces in working-class areas, amidst a minimal set which evokes both concrete and flora. A compelling performer, Wilson himself is a calm, cooling breath of fresh air.