Buzz (3 stars)

This article is from 2019


Moving show about a life in second gear struggles to reach top speed

Matthias has been washed ashore on the far-flung Faroe Islands. He has no idea how he got there. Discovered by a mysterious doctor, he finds himself in an improvised home for damaged individuals, where he looks back over his young life, his dashed hopes, his ill-advised decisions.

Based on the novel by Norwegian author Johan Harstad, poignant solo show Buzz from Belgium's Kopergietery has a simple but resonant central conceit. What if we don't all want to be the best, the top, the CEO? What if some of us want to be a cog in the machine, of crucial but, well, secondary importance?

It's a slow-moving, reflective 70 minutes of theatre, underscored by a vivid live soundtrack from Karen Willems, and with an evocative video backdrop of moody Faroese landscapes from Ann-Julie Vervaeke. Performer Charlotte Vandermeersch (who also adapts Harstad's text) does a good job at conveying her central character, but Matthias remains elusive, intentionally directionless and scarred by a passion he was never bold enough to act on.

In the same way, Buzz remains quite an elusive show – atmospheric and thought-provoking, certainly, but less than clear in its dramatic impetus, emerging as a succession of touching episodes, and stopping short of delving too deeply into Matthias's troubles. It's moving, but too understated to feel entirely compelling.

Summerhall, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), 10am, £12 (£10).


  • 3 stars

Kopergietery, KGbe, Arsenaal/Lazarus, Richard Jordan Productions, TRP, BiB, Summerhall In the Faroe Islands' desolate landscape, a young person is found washed ashore. Adapted by Charlotte Vandermeersch and created with Lazarus and Fringe First Award-winners Kopergietery, Norwegian writer Johan Harstad's compelling and…