Devised by Tmesis Theatre and Chris Fittock
Director: Elinor Randle
Reviewer: Abbie Rippon
Do our souls live on after we have passed? What constitutes a soul? After we lose someone, what would happen if we could keep their soul in a microchip? In a world where our souls are bared online, Beyond Belief explores the potential of our existence continuing after our death.
Tmesis theatre have explored this concept, with ideas that curiously echo Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror series. Using their trademark physical theatre, four actors tell the story of what it might be like to bring someone back using their online soul.
Performing in the black box theatre space Unity One, Tmesis use a mix of digital screens, minimal set and the music of Elvis Priestley along with their physical skills to bring this story to life. The piece is aesthetically interesting, the performers are controlled and highly effective in their physical movement and characterisation. The performance features heart-warming movement duets between Eleni Edipidi and Charles Sandford as Chloe and Simon as their relationship takes many twists and turns and the entire ensemble perform with beautiful attention to detail, control and strength. Sandford particularly puts on an emotionally evocative performance which really grips the audience.
Beyond Belief follows an interesting concept, however, it feels like there is so much more within the subject matter and plot that could have been explored. If a person’s soul can be programmed using their online data, one would have liked to have learnt more about Chloe and Simon’s online habits before Chloe’s online data is used to re-create her soul. When Chloe is re-created after her death, the production gives very little time for the relationship between Simon and the re-born Chloe to re-establish itself; one movement routine is all that is used to tell the story of its demise, it all feels too rushed. The content lacks body and one feels that it could have been explored further and examined in more rounded detail.
Perhaps the time in workshop and rehearsal was limited? It’s a shame because this production stands on the brink of something that could be really wonderful. It’s engaging, entertaining and emotive, it’s the detail in the plot that’s lacking. Fifty-five minutes is not enough time to tell a story with so many important elements.
Runs until Saturday 6 October 2018 | Image: Contributed