BEACHY HEAD To 24 March.


by Dan Rebellatio, Emma Jowett and Lewis Hetherington devised by Analogue.

Tour to 24 March 2011.
Runs 1hr 20 mins No interval.
Review: Martin Franks 6 February at The Junction Cambridge.

Matured, not perfect, but well worth an hour and a half of your time.
Suicide is a surprisingly popular subject for Theatre, but devising group Analogue’s take on it is slightly different.

Combining partially alienating mixed media with some lovely accessible performances they’ve focused on the iconic British territory of Beach Head – and with considerable success. This is an intelligent, witty and thoughtful piece, a couple of years now on the road in evolution.

Devised work matures and mutates as actors continue to explore characters and the subject. The charming, comic double-act of two young film-makers Joe and Matt (Matt Tait and Neal Craig) who discover a CCTV clip of the last few seconds of the life of suicide victim Stephen (Dan Ford), draws an excellent embarrassed poignancy into their decision to pursue Amy (Katie Lightfoot) to star in their documentary.

That they don’t declare this to their documentary subject reflects beautifully on the dehumanising and distancing that is the theme of the other character, pathologist Dr Rachel Sampson. And this is where the Multimedia element, an essential part of what makes Analogue tick, is integral to the work.

Joe and Matt film Dr Sampson explaining that a body is no longer a person. We see the film projected, then a 16:9 postbox-slot opening in a flat to represent the camera’s view. In an increasingly camera-vision world this framing is interlinked intelligently with a vision of a life, a suicide and the life left behind. Katie Lightfoot gives a slightly chilling performance as the widow Amy, her grief uncertainly believable, with limited scope to feel about her love and loss.

And when Stephen eventually jumps, there’s no emotional response. The design could also be more unified – perhaps with the letterbox motif carried through. But there are some fine moments – use of a mirror, and a surprise evoking a gasp from the audience.

Stephen’s telephone-kiosk conversation is beautiful, though the mix with the waves might strain some ears. But it deals well with both its subject and a contemporary British icon.

Dr Rachel Sampson: Sarah Belcher.
Stephen Mitchell: Dan Ford.
Amy Mitchell: Katie Lightfoot.
Joe Powell: Matt Tait.
Matt Wells: Neal Craig.

Directors: Liam Jarvis, Hannah Barker.
Designers: Liam Jarvis, Laura Hopkins.
Lighting: Edmund McKay.
Sound: Alex Garfath.
Music: Simon Slater.
Multimedia Design: Thor Hayton.

2011-02-13 15:46:42

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