Beachy Head (3 stars)

This article is from 2009.

Beachy Head

Like its predecessor, Mile End, Analogue’s Beachy Head is as much about the way the story is told as it is about the story itself. No scene goes by without a screen being wheeled on, a video camera being focused or an actor tottering in front of a pre-recorded back projection.

It doesn’t work at every point – there’s the odd moment when you wonder if you’d be better watching a TV at home – but more typically, the company uses the technology to add a haunting dimension to the story of a woman suffering the shock of her husband’s unexpected suicide and of the camera crew who have inadvertently filmed the event. On other occasions the company resorts to more simple – though just as effective – means, such as the flapping of boards to produce the gusts of wind above the chalk cliffs of Beachy Head, the notorious suicide spot.

All this would count for little if the material didn’t merit it and the company does an honourable job in treating a sensitive subject in a way that is suitably sombre without being morose. The story of the living is, however, less interesting than that of the dead man, depending on a relatively low-stakes ethical dilemma involving the filmmakers’ failure to tell the bereaved Amy (Emma Jowett) of their footage. It’s a problem exacerbated by Amy’s surprisingly small emotional range and it’s resolved only partially by the filmic use of flashbacks to the dead man’s final hours.

Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24), 5.25pm, £8–£9 (£6.50–£7.50).

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.

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