Signal to Noise, Longwave

Review in Issue 19-1 | Spring 2007

A turned-in sort of piece, this. Two men live in a wasteland cabin, venturing out in hazmat suits to collect samples of Whatever, conducting then experiments on the parcels of Whatever by measuring them, poking them, weighing them, sending them down a bat-a-rat tube, etcetera. Longwave is about companionship, trust, reliance, loneliness, where language falls short, how two people who share space can communicate by sharing space – all of this wrapped up in an instinct-metaphor about science and the effects of isolation and observation. Oh, and it was funny too.

In the cabin with the two men is a radio tuned to longwave; occasionally it breaks in and gives insight into their lives and families, filling in character via the spoken word. The humour in the radio sections was one or two shades darker, and it felt like it was coming from somewhere else – I suppose from the writer, Chris Goode. The rest of the piece belonged to the performers, Jamie Wood and Tom Lyall, who brought humanity, goodwill, and real tenderness into what would otherwise have been a fairly austere world.

The only thing to say against is that it sometimes felt like the set pieces were included for their own sake, but when they are such good set pieces (e.g. a killer bit of puppetry where the mirror and crocodile clips of a scientific widget are turned into the head and dramatically gesticulating arms of a singer) it can hardly matter. I like this kind of theatre. Subtle, luminous.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Sep 2006

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-1
p. 27