Analogue is precisely the kind of inventive young theatre company one always hopes to stumble across in Edinburgh. Combining animation and live action filming with traditional theatre, they’ve been developing new ways of telling stories on stage for less than three years - and they’re getting better all the time. Beachy Head, follow-up to their Fringe First-winning Mile End, is inspired by Britain’s most notorious suicide spot, yet out of this unprepossessingly grim material, they’ve crafted something of affecting beauty.
It tells the tale of Stephen, a 29-year old married man from Brighton who one night, without warning, throws himself off the cliffs. His wife Amy, hallucinating with grief, seeks to discover why, meeting the pathologist who performed the autopsy and two budding film-makers who have inadvertently captured Stephen’s final moments on camera. Little by little, the lead-up up to Stephen’s leap is revealed.
There’s a slight clunkiness to the script – cramming in as it does a bewildering glut of facts relating to death, bereavement and pathology – which in turn results in some awkward acting. The visual pictures created, though, are never less than stunning: a man teeters, windswept, before he jumps; row upon row of boxes containing the belongings of the dead appear to take on a life of their own; and a woman lies motionless on a mortuary slab before suddenly being whipped up to the starlit cliffs’ edge.
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