Review: Translunar Paradise (Tobacco Factory Theatres)

It was Tennyson, in his 1849 poem In Memoriam, who observed that “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Nowhere could this idea of love be truer than in Translunar Paradise, Theatre Ad Infinitum’s elegy for the soul.

In just 70 minutes and without a word spoken, Deborah Pugh, George Mann and Sophie Crawford span the life-cycle of a relationship using a beautifully crafted physical language, breath, music and silence. The piece is episodic and non-linear, and makes full use of the thought that life flashes before your eyes in your final moments.

The detail in the physical storytelling is both precise and economical. It is also joyful – even in the most heartbreaking of moments – because, ultimately, the central couple has found each other and a path forward.

The company never shies away from silence. Whilst the glorious live soundtrack provides another layer for the couple’s story, the moments of stillness prove as important as the scored moments. These moments of reflection, hesitation or anticipation are crucial. As is the constant use of audible breath from the actors: switching from the characters’ younger to their older selves, the breath provides a time slip that further animates the physical language.

Ultimately Translunar Paradise is one couple’s experience of what love means, what it can be – and how it informs who we are. With that in mind, there is something for everyone here. It is beautiful. It is whimsical. It is heartbreaking.

Translunar Paradise should be seen by all.

Translunar Paradise continues at Tobacco Factory Theatres until Saturday, July 8. For more info and to book tickets, visit www.tobaccofactorytheatres.com/shows/translunar-paradise

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