Bloom Theatre return after their Saplings 2 series with a new, forty-minute digital production, Avalanche, about a man losing control. He’s an adventurer, a mountaineer, a daredevil. At an early age, he “made friends with myself”.
Sonny Poon Tip performs this monologue in a cross-confessional, conspiratorial style almost apologetic at first for talking to himself. Talking to us. It’s raw, brave, and controlled. Each word has weight.
There’s a feeling of claustrophobia in the canvas and plastic background in which Alex initially shares his thoughts. Later we see projections, blackness, moments of tighter focus. In the camera goes as this man shares the inexplicable. The unthinkable.
Simon Fraser and Jack Albert Cook, co-founders of Bloom, have co-written this piece and the writing is economical, the setting and character believable. As Alex shares his story, his victories, his wipeout and its consequences, we feel pulled deep into his mind.
We hear of friendships (“he made lists, I made trouble”), but I feel a lack of focus on when and where we were. Is this a contemporary piece, in the here and now? The recall of past passions is strongly evoked in the adrenaline of competition and closeness.
Poon Tip is a commanding presence before the camera, helped by Alistair Wilkinson’s occasionally quirky direction, pulling in close, panning around, adding to that feeling of unease and disconnection. It is a performance of fleeting moments as thoughts are processed and articulated.
The beauty of this play is not just in the poetry of its words, but also the honesty it displays on tough subjects, within scene changes and forbidding musical motifs. This is a story of violation, and a story of survival.
Bloom Theatre’s work in spotlighting queer artists and concerns continues to enthrall in these tough times, when male mental health remains a relevant topic, as does the themes of resilience and acceptance.
Avalanche streams at 7pm each night until 7 February and tickets are available for £8 at http://ticketsignite.com/event/3644/avalanche.
LouReviews received complimentary access to review Avalanche.