Unity Theatre, Liverpool – until 6 October 2018
The work of Tmesis has always examined the stuff of life with style, precision, humour and heart, and the company’s latest show Beyond Belief is no exception.
It looks at the experience of loss in the digital age, using the company’s physical theatre trademarks to create a world where the dead can effectively live again – forever – using the collected data of their online profile.
As widower Simon, Charles Sandford is excellent as the emotional core of the hour-long piece, complemented delicately by Eleni Edipidi as the departed partner Chloe. Simon is pressured to let super tech corporation Beyond Belief bring his wife back from the dead… but is its sinister ambition really for the best?
Elvis Presley is an amusing choice of character to guide Chloe – and the audience – through the strange, new immortal world of Beyond Belief, giving plenty of scope for daft puns and (deliberately) cheesy musical interludes. As The King himself, Adam Davies brings the comic relief that breaks up the drama so well in Tmesis’s established style. Jennifer Essex, always an eminently watchable performer, is the mysterious head of Beyond Belief, a charismatic, Orwellian figure with sinister intent of world domination.
A punchy soundtrack of Elvis and techno gives way to some beautiful original piano work from composer Meike Holzman during the most touching, tender moments, of which there are many; from a busy funeral scene representing the whirlwind in the immediate aftermath of grief, to the lonely dreams of one left behind. As ever, director Elinor Randle deftly navigates the serious and lighthearted.
It’s an intimate piece, the sort best observed up close; to be better able to take in the nuances of the co-ordination and movement of the performers, and to feel immersed in the light and sounds of the motherboard-inspired set.
Beyond Belief is at the Unity until October 6 and at Edge Hill Arts Centre on October 12. Read MADEUP’s interview with artistic director Elinor Randle here.
Image: Andrew Ness
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