Beat (4 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: Eleanor Kelly

How to find yourself through drumming

Young Alfie loves to play the drums. To the point of obsession. To the extent, in fact, that he has room in his mind for little else – school work, friends, family. So when he finds himself propelled into a rock band, he makes a naive decision that has devastating consequences for those around him.

Cédric Chapuis' poignant solo play is at once a coming-of-age drama and a study of music as a crucial outlet for a fractured mind, with the true extent of Alfie's condition only emerging through his encounters with irritated head teachers, school bullies and unexpected girlfriends. There's a lot going on here, but Chapuis spins his threads together elegantly – also drawing in, of course, Alfie's beloved drumming itself.

And Beat's solo performer Daniel Bellus performs a remarkable feat as both actor and expert drummer, delivering licks and rhythms with all the devotion Alfie clearly feels, while bringing to vivid life the boy's wide-eyed naivety and obliviousness to the problems he's causing.

At 75 minutes, Beat might benefit from a little tightening, and its conclusion – though subtly set up – feels unexpectedly shocking. But it's a beautifully crafted show, delivered with panache and searing conviction, and one that packs a deceptively powerful emotional punch.

Pleasance Dome, until 26 August (not 14), 2.30pm, £10.50–£13.50 (£9.50–£12.50).


  • 4 stars

SiT Productions, Ki M'aime Me Suive and Scènes Plurielles Alfie lives with his little brother, Hugo, Mum and George. Alfie is not like the other kids, but that's only a problem for other people: his irritated parents, the bullying classmates and the exasperated teachers. Alfie doesn't care as long as he can play his…