Beats North

Beats North
3 stars ***
Summerhall (Venue 26)

IS IT A MAN’S WORLD?  Not sure, is the answer that comes from this tentative but hugely enjoyable show about growing up in Teesside, co-written by Luke Barnes and Ishy Din, and performed by young actors from Company TSU.  To a briliantly complex, sliding-and-rewinding soundtrack created live by d-j Mariam Rezael, the show tells the stories of two teenage boys at the same Tees-side school.  There’s Jack, still mourning his Mum’s decision to run off with a another man, and desperately, comically attached to his beloved rag-doll Jessica; and there’s Al, a talented would-be musician struggling under the burden of his Dad’s fury and disappointment, after his beloved elder brother ends up in prison.

The two monologues are barely linked, except by the exceptional use of sound and movement in Amy Golding’s production.  The use of music to articulate the boys’ emotional lives is fascinating and ground-breaking, though, in a hugely inventive piece of youth theatre built around a passionate performance from Assad Saman as Al, and a truly beguiling one from Tom Booth as Jack, his dancing as fluent as his words are tongue-tied, and his beloved Jessica always on hand, to offer a word of sharp and motherly advice.

Joyce McMillan
until 25
p. 286


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