Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Theatre review: Perle
The original Perle poem is about a father missing his precious and flawless pearl, in other words a young daughter he lost. In Eccleshare's modernised version the video tapes are his way of holding on to the memory of his dead child, playing back events both happy and tragic and trying to find the angle that will allow him to move on.
The ubiquitous use of video projection in theatre has led to some of the more creative productions having actors interact with them, and Perle is like a lo-tech version of this, the idea being to create a "live comic book." Often the screen displays dialogue, the words and thoughts of the lead character - also called Thomas - and comments from his friends, represented by some very mild audience participation. But a lot of the time Eccleshare has also animated illustrations by Serge Seidlitz, and interacts with them - putting his hand "into" the TV to grab a cartoon sandwich, standing behind it to get a full body X-ray and so on.
It's simply and sweetly done, director Valentina Ceschi has choreographed Eccleshare well in his interactions with music and video, although it retains a roughness around the edges - probably for the best, as you're not just being impressed by the cleverness of the performance at the expense of emotional investment. It is, inevitably, a sad little show although one that frequently raises a smile through the likeability of its conceit and performer.
Perle by Thomas Eccleshare is booking until the 3rd of November at Soho Theatre Upstairs.
Running time: 1 hour straight through.