Reviewer: David Doyle
It’s 4am at the North Pole and a snowstorm is brewing. A van, carrying a television crew snakes through the snow and so begins what is undoubtedly one of the most delightful shows at this year’s festival. A short-form work combining puppetry, object theatre, and gestural theatre, the piece is a charming look at those caught in the storm from the television crew to some nearby polar bears.
Opening with a wonderful extended piece of object manipulation in miniature, the piece is of consistently high quality. Almost entirely without words, the three performers, Julie Tenret, Sicaire Durieux, and Sandrine Heyraud are captivating. As well as their puppetry skills they bring excellent physical humour to the piece including a rather wonderful scene inside the front seat of a van that elicits much laughter from the audience. For all the joy and humour at the heart of the piece, there are also some more serious issues surrounding climate change dealt with in an engaging manner that adds depth to the piece.
While the show is delightful from start to finish, there is a lack of conclusion to it. Clocking in at under 30 minutes the narrative somewhat abruptly ends. While the narrative lacks an ending, more importantly the piece feels like it is lacking a theatrical conclusion. In a piece that is so deft in its theatricality, this feels more disappointing than the lack of a narrative ending. Despite the abruptness of its ending, Backup is beautiful. An extended running time would allow for a more complete feeling to the piece but despite this, Backup may well be the perfect way to start the day.
Runs until 26 August 2018 | Image: Alice Piemme