DramaReviewSouth West

In the Light Everything is Brighter – 1532 Performing Arts Centre, Bristol

Devised by Wilderbeast

Director: Patrick Bate & Thomas Davies

Musical Director: Dominic Beddard Coll & Nell O’Hara

Design: Chris Owen & Lydia Robertshaw

Lighting: Oscar Adams

Reviewer: Leah Tozer

Something is lurking in the dark: your deepest fear, your demons, your darkest moments… what frightens you the most? Is it monsters? Or is it the monotony of your early twenties? Wilderbeast’s monstrously entertaining and wildly imaginativeIn the Light Everything is Brighterilluminates the nightmare of monotony in witty montages and monstrous images and boldly enlightens and engages with the anxieties of a new generation.

Elliot is 22. Work is dull, mates are moving away, and motivation – even to load the dishwasher with the mountain of mugs he leaves in his room – is low. Life is, literally, a drag, and Wilderbeast uses this to grating effect. There are moments in the performance that play out in real time, as when Oscar Adams’s wonderfully weary Elliot and workmate Liz eat sandwiches in silence for five minutes: it’s wearisome and it’s weird, but it works. With real-time grinding against monstrous stylism from monster and movement director Toby Pritchard and absurdist breakdowns in supermarkets,it’s muddled but brilliantly disturbing.

Formed through Bristol Old Vic’s programme for young theatre-makers, Wilderbeast is a collaborative and versatile collective. The actors all double as creatives, from directors to designers to dramaturgs – with Oscar Adams’s blinding and blood-red lighting and Chris Owen’s wallpaper backdrops that disguise a nightmare beneath them brilliantly imaginative – as well as delivering a cast of individual oddball characters.

The performance also boasts a four-piece band playing ambient music as part of the ensemble that accompanies the blackouts and cabaret crooning from Thomas Davies, whose offbeat refrains – “it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine, Elliot is doing fine” – echo Elliot’s creeping fears. It’s an impressive company, and although the narrative could be tighter and the transitions less timely, they’ve created a monster that captures, voices, and plays on that growingly universal anxiety: that all is, in fact, not fine.

In the Light Everything is Brighteris enlightening and entertaining, and a blindingly good beginning for Wilderbeast.

Runs until Saturday 21 July 2018 | Image: Contributed

Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score

Monstrously entertaining and wildly imaginative

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The Reviews Hub - South West

The Southwest team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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