Talking life and death at Beachy Head

This article is from 2009

Beachy Head

Analogue searches for life after death on the famous chalk cliffs

I’m not saying Liam Jarvis is morbid, but after the co-director’s 2007 Fringe First-winning hit Mile End – the true story of a man pushed in front of a London underground train – he is back with Beachy Head, best known as East Sussex’s most picturesque suicide spot. He promises the final part of a trilogy by his company Analogue will be on a similarly death-related theme. ‘And it’s always the same actor who gets killed off,’ laughs Jarvis. ‘In Mile End lots of people responded to the death in different ways and it’s the same with someone taking their own life. Is it a selfish thing to do? Is it an honest thing to do? It’s the questions that we’re interested in. Although death is at the centre of all of the plays, it really is about life.’

Devised by the company, the show takes inspiration from the fluidity of Canadian director Robert Lepage coupled with a fascination with real events. ‘Most of 2008 was an exhaustive research period, meeting pathologists, volunteers and Samaritans,’ says Jarvis. ‘It’s a massive weight of responsibility and it’s really important to get it right. It’d be much easier to take a sketch show up to Edinburgh.’

Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 8–30 Aug (not 17, 24), 5.25pm, £8–£9 (£6.50– £7.50). Previews 5–7 Aug, £5.

Beachy Head

  • 3 stars

Fusing text, animation and physical performance, this follow-up to Analogue's 2007 Fringe First-winning hit 'Mile End' - 'Neuron-firing, emotionally hot-wired theatre' (Metro) - explores the ripple effects of one man's decision to take his life.