When Beats ends, it would be easy to describe this monologue as a one-man show. However, this description would be entirely false. The story within the play would not have had the same impact without the hard work of the lighting, video graphic and music controllers who worked in perfect unison throughout the whole hour of the play, making it easy and effortless to slip into the characters’ mindsets and truly understand their emotions.
Kieran Hurley’s portrayal of a handful of characters in one play was completely fantastic. He explored feelings and emotions which we can all relate to and have all experienced, such as fear, anxiety and embarrassment. This made it possible to relate to each character. His own understanding of each person opened up the stereotypical figures within society and finally gave them a voice. For example: the quiet boy, the worrying mother, the proud policeman, the trouble maker up the road and many more in a spectacular fashion.
The broad range of character roles, and the combination of the music and lighting, helped to make you feel as if you were in each setting and environment. The team gave you every possible chance to transport yourself to their world. For example, faster, more energetic scenes featured faster, heavier music, and frantic and energetic lights, encouraging you to imagine yourself as the characters and share their emotions. As the play began, Hurley told the audience “It’s not illegal to imagine, yet.” It can be said that he was encouraging you to make the most of the imagination you have, as the team has done in creating this play. The darkness included after the fast-paced sections helped to intensify the heightened events of the play, making the play seem more dramatic. In these moments of recognition, although it was set in 1994, it was easy to draw comparisons with incidents, figures and attitudes which are still prevalent within our society today.
The period jokes about the mid 90s gathered great appreciation and applause from the audience, but as a teen born in ’95, many of the jokes felt lost on me. However, there were other humorous points, which I could appreciate and relate too. I can completely see that this play was fantastic and I seriously respect the hard work included, but I think this play was not necessarily over attractive for me. I found the intense lighting and music to be a little overwhelming and distracting, making it difficult for me to easily enjoy it all, although it was clearly an amazing piece of work.
Beats was at Bristol Old Vic as part of Mayfest. For more information visit the Mayfest website.