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Tuesday, 1 June 2021

REVIEW: Touching the Void at the Bristol Old Vic (Online)

Having seen Touching the Void at the Duke of York Theatre in November 2019, I was intrigued by how it would translate to the small screen in Bristol Old Vic’s live broadcast from their stage with a live vision mix and an audience in the 250-year-old Theatre. Director Tom Morris introduced the show and welcomed viewers from across the world and warned if anything goes wrong, they intended to stop the show in what he called an “experimental and exciting” evening. He should have had no such fears as the show works well on screen, indeed the second half is actually improved by the capture through multiple cameras.

It is curious that a story can be so dramatic when we already know the outcome going into the show. This is a tale of epic real-life human endeavour in a life-or-death situation as a climber, Joe Simpson, desperately attempts to survive on the remote Siula Grande mountain in the Andes with a minimum of supplies and a broken leg. It has already been a book and a film (2003), so it presents Director Tom Morris with a challenge to keep us gripped and engaged. There are plenty of very creative and imaginative ideas and designer Ti Green brings the tale to life and enables the explanation of the motivation for climbing Alpine style to be illustrated and dramatic in a clever theatrical way.
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