Sunday, 21 February 2021

REVIEW: And Breathe… for the Living Record Festival Online

It’s wonderful that so many diverse and exciting new pieces of writing have been created for the Living Record Festival, giving theatre and art the chance to be accessed in such a sparse time for the industry. The creativity that has gone into this is wonderful and should be lauded. Mark Conway and Alex Packer’s ‘And Breathe…’ certainly fits in and stands out, being mainly a radio play with added visual guides and movement pieces.

The tag line says a lot about what the theme is – ‘1 trillion plastic bags used every year. 2 million every minute. The average use… just 12 minutes. He’s drowning under the weight of all this. But who will sink first? Him or the rest of us?’ And in this day and age this truly is a relevant theme for us all! There is the increasing worry about our plastic consumption. But without that tag line I would have struggled to piece it all together.

The quote that for me sums ‘And Breathe…’ up is ‘it’s art. This could be in the fucking Tate’. The whole piece is very conceptual and Avant-Garde. The sound effects and use of panning in each ear made this very exciting, but the dialogue got confusing sometimes where I didn’t know if there was or wasn’t a second character in certain scenes (if so the characters didn’t differentiate in vocal tones enough), and they always felt cut short, which as a listener I found it harder to keep the focus as I was working overtime to try and keep up. Sometimes too with the mixing of media with the movement and audio, I got so distracted by what each of them meant that I missed the meaning to both aspects, and meant I was fighting to try and understand, which stopped the piece being as enjoyable or powerful for me.

Overall I think there are a lot of exciting and clever moments in ‘And Breathe…’ but personally I think it was just trying to be too Avant Garde to really reach the full impact that I believe Conway and Packer set out to achieve. 

Review by Adam Yorke

Rating: ★★★

Seat: Online | Price of Ticket: £5

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