Full Beam Visual Theatre / Awkward Silence, Better to Have Loved & Echo and Narcissus

Review in Issue 12-4 | Winter 2000

Within the first five minutes of Better to Have Loved I recognised the text as Jeanette Winterson's The Passion and not David Murphy's script as credited in the programme. For whatever reason Full Beam Visual Theatre chose to ignore Ms Winterson's contribution to their production (suspect copyright) – it affected my ability to treat the performance with any real respect.

It's a tough job translating a novel to the stage and worse if you lift verbatim what is a quite magical text and deliver it as a monologue. In this sense, as the main character, Lizzie Philips was unable to embody the text in a way which made it come alive on stage. However, when she related the story through shadows on a screen, or with two tiny puppets walking across the snow-covered hilly tracts of a four poster bed, the charm and imagination of the puppetry did more justice to the beauty of the writing

Awkward Silence created a simple and effective retelling of the Echo and Narcissus metamorphoses with near life-size puppets. The piece quietly opens with a moth flitting around a naked bulb. We then meet Echo, a strangely grotesque yet beautiful puppet who shyly echoes Narcissus' calls. Narcissus' discovery of his own reflection in the shape of a twin who mimics his every move is inspired and funny. I was very disappointed when it was all over so quickly. Awkward Silence is an imaginative and talented company with strong, confident animation combined with a lightness of touch. Ones to watch.

Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-4
p. 26