Monday, 21 October 2013

Translunar Paradise

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars
William and Rose were lovers for life. When both are in the dotage, 
Rose dies, leaving William alone with only the ticking clock, a painful 
absence and a house full of memories to help get him through his own 
final days. Death, however, is not the end in Theatre Ad Finitum's 
wordless meditation on love, loss and lives lived and shared with 
others. Using masks, choreography and a live accordion score to provide 
its heartbeat, George Mann's production takes the treasured emotional 
totems of that life – a tea cup, a letter, a pearl necklace and a 
summer dress – and transports William to his youth, when every moment 
of his romance with Rose was a great big adventure.

This is touchingly played by Mann as William alongside fellow 
performers and devisers, Deborah Pugh, who plays Rose, and Kim Heron 
who provides the score to a show first seen on the Edinburgh Festival 
Fringe in 2011, and which now forms part of this year's Luminate 
festival of creative ageing. The play's focus on memory as a means of 
survival recalls Samuel Beckett at his most obsessive in the likes of 
Krapp's Last Tape or Eh Joe, albeit with a more sentimental approach 
and less ennui.

This lends a warmth to the production over its seventy minute duration, 
even if some of the love-lorn choreography is a tad repetitive as 
William leaps into the void once more. As he finally lets go of Rose 
and steps back into the darkness, the life William has just relived 
brings him peace at last in this gentlest of meditations on how 
grieving can be transformed into something magically comforting.

The Herald, October 21st

ends

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