Friday, 4 August 2017

REVIEW: Bump! at Tristan Bates Theatre


Ian and Eliana have a few things in common. They both dislike their jobs, live pretty solitary lives and talk a lot on the phone with their siblings. They are complete strangers to each other, but their lives eventually collide - quite literally - the day Eliana bumps into Ian's car. This fortuitous and unfortunate encounter leads to a successful date and the clingy Ian falls madly in love with the more aloof Eliana.

This is the simple storyline behind Andrew Hollingworth's fast-paced play Bump!, where the physical element and some essential speech are the main ingredients for a heartwarming and meaningful performance. 

In the role of Ian, Andrew Hollingworth is a clumsy geek who spends his free time playing computer games and texting Eliana. Oriana Charles is the eternal unsatisfied school teacher Eliana, who spends her free time painting her nails and dreaming of a more exciting life. Both characters require serious stamina and a level of coordination that is achieved brilliantly. The physical work is excellent and nurtures the strong comedic nature of the show.

Set and costumes are minimal and all stick to the same chromatic tones of black, white and red. A big black box centre stage presents multiple windows that open to create new surfaces and elements of the set. The visual layout is inventive but easy to engage with and, thanks to the performers' miming skills, don't require much imagination from the audience.

Despite its brilliant playfulness, towards the end, Bump! reveals itself as a more complex piece and the lighthearted comedy turns into an emotional finale. Darker tones emerge and serious topics hit the stage almost unexpectedly. The cliff-hanger ending doesn't offer a proper answer but leaves the audience with some profound question marks that add human value to the piece.

Bump! is a one of a kind physical performance where the observation of behavioural cliches is presented in a high-speed rollercoaster of emotions which will resound in your heart long after you left the auditorium. An unmissable, imaginative and absorbing piece of minimal contemporary theatre.

Review by Marianna Meloni

Rating: ★★★★★
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