Reviewer: David Doyle
Belgium is famed for its comic books so it’s little surprise that a show about graphic novels finds itself as part of the Big In Belgium programme at Summerhall this year. Last Call finds itself at the midpoint between a theatrical production and a graphic novel. A collaboration between Belgium’s foremost graphic novelist, Philip Parquet, and playwright, Adriaan Van Aken, the piece explores the life of a young girl as she runs away from home to go to the big city. Combining projection of the graphic novel with live narration and music, the show is an often-mesmerizing hour of theatre.
The balance of Parquet’s illustration and the more theatrical elements of performance are perfectly balancedand create something truly unique. The plot of the graphic novel, which simultaneously unfolds both on stage and on screen, does at times feel a bit threadbare but it is made up for by the aesthetic quality of what’s on show. The stunning illustrations dominate the space and their beauty alone is enough to keep audiences rapt.
The accompaniment of the piece with live music elevates the piece even further. Scored wonderfully throughout there is something of a silent movie feel to the whole show. It is the combination of the gravitas that brings, coupled with the feeling that you are watching something entirely new, that makes the piece such a joy to watch.
This is a truly unique performance and one that lives long in the memory. The hour zips by, and the performance ends at a moment that leaves you wanting even more. A testament to the skill of both the theatre maker and graphic novelist, Last Call is an entrancing and memorable piece of performance.
Runs until 28 August 2016 (not 14, 15, 19, 22)