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Audio theatre keeps popping up on my feed, particularly over the last few months. The reason as to why is pretty obvious; with theatre doors closed once again, theatre makers are having to find Covid-friendly ways of performing their shows. Audio theatre has been a key player in this new theatrical landscape, offering companies a medium which is (almost) immune to the obstacles facing theatre over the past year.
Nod At The Fox is one such company, who have turned to audio theatre as a way to keep performing. The company normally use puppetry and imaginative design elements to create their shows, but lockdown has seen them shift their shows into the audio theatre realm. It is here that Breaking Up With Reality was born. The show’s title already gives a melancholy nod to the current state of affairs, but this show is far from sorrowful.
This is a one-man show, with the script, score and narration all being brought to us by the company’s founder Eden Harbud. The script has all the poetry and lyricism of a children’s book, but the intelligence displayed in the writing is decidedly more mature. As someone who has been tentative about consuming Covid-centric creations, this show surprises me with its ability to bring me a sincere sense of hope. This piece isn’t overwhelmed by its timely context, managing to convey feelings I’m certain many have felt, in a profoundly touching way.
A key part of giving audio theatre multiple dimensions, is the addition of music and sound effects. Harbud’s score is simple, but still a sweetly sentimental accompaniment to the script. A moment which stands out is a section which soundscapes the world pre-Covid — the hustle and bustle of a world without restrictions, a nostalgic memory that feels particularly heart-warming. Although Harbud jokes in the introduction that the score is not quite Philip Glass standard, it still possesses as much imagination as the script and remains a vital piece of this show.
Sound is a powerful sensory tool, a fact which is proven by tonight’s show. It seems unlikely that a 30-minute audio play could deliver such a thoughtful, eloquent theatrical experience, but it does. Sat in my room, I am left significantly more excited for the future of the audio theatre genre. If you too are curious as to the merit of this new audio theatre trend, I’d suggest you grab some headphones and take half an hour to listen to this charming show.
Breaking Up With Reality is playing online until 22 February. For more information and tickets, see Nod at the Fox online.