Links are also at the following venues websites: Theatre Royal Winchester; Jacksons Lane; Southbank Centre; Lighthouse Poole; Colchester Arts Centre; Pound Arts Centre; Turner Sims Southampton; The Hot Tin, Faversham; West End Centre; The Stables, Milton Keynes; The Point Theatre; The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre; City Eye, Southampton; Cambridge Junction; EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge; Lakeside Arts, University of Nottingham; Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury; Exeter Phoenix; The North Wall; Marine Theatre; Quay Arts; and Norwich Arts Centre.
Running time 47 minutes. Review Mark Courtice 15th July 2020
Platform 4’s intriguing meditation on hearing loss is also about getting old, the way that music works, and nature. A very broad canvas then, explored through voices shining with humour and courage. The words are often poetic and are subtly underpinned by the music which is, like the text, meandering and sinuous but often sharply surprising.
Visually there are a series of unfolding lines inspired by wave shapes, or musical staves or instrument strings that then turn into birds and trees. This reflects the interests of the people in the piece; despite their encroaching disability they still are living full lives.
It’s not all tragedy – from the ability to “silence“ a snoring partner, to turning a supermarket into a dreamlike world where people glide around you, there are benefits if you look for them. However we feel how tiring it is to decipher the world from other clues.
Of course there is loss, eloquently expressed as a theft of intimacy, and a deeply moving section describes losing the whole sound of the natural world from the rustle of leaves to the sound of birds. There are also the benefits of hearing aids, described with a sort of wondering list of the birds that you can hear again in lovely counterpoint to that earlier moment of loss.
This is a piece to watch on your own with headphones, perfect for the constrained world of lockdown. Based on director Catherine Church’s experience of her mother’s lip reading group it’s intensely personal, beautifully put together and full of ideas. There is precision in the editing, which is informed by Platform 4’s trademark – listening. Listening matters more than hearing, demonstrated by this charming community only really brought together by one thing, which as the piece proceeds seems to become less and less important.
Artistic Director Catherine Church
Musical Director Pete Flood
Sound Designer Jules Bushell
Digital Designer Barret Hodgson