by guest critic Nastazja Somers
France 1944. A young French girl Elodike runs to meet her lover, a German soldier Otto. Their love is innocent and pure, the exact opposite of the world around them. This is a place that has been torn by war, despair and hunger. Yet the young pair of lovers find time and space to make love, talk about their family and friends, and most importantly connect – despite their differences.
Following its success earlier on in the year, Rita Kalnejais’ This Beautiful Future, directed by The Yard’s Artistic Director Jay Miller is back at the East London venue and makes for a heart-warming watch during this cold winter.
There is a lot to be said about refreshing and unconventional directorial choices in This Beautiful Future. Jay Miller not only allows his audiences to breathe the play, but also challenges our understanding of its narrative. In the opening, we are greeted by Alwyne Taylor and Paul Hayley as both of them cross the stage to get to their destinations – telephone booths in which they will spend the majority of the performance, playing the role of avant-garde chorus, singing Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ and asking themselves and the audience, what would happen if they could do things differently. The voices of regret echo through the doomed love story between Elodike and Otto.
Cécile Trémolières’s design creates a feeling of open space and adds to the ambiguity of the piece. Whilst we are aware that the action takes place in France at the end of the World War II, the characters speak using modern language and contemporary colloquialisms, ensuring that the piece stays relevant and on point regarding the modern politics. Both Abigail Lawrie and Tom Morley capture the innocence and naivety of youth in a hypnotizing way reminding us all how bitter sweet youth and its dreams are.
This Beautiful Future runs through 25 November.
The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.