Review: PUSH (Edinburgh Fringe, online)

Now streaming at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on the Pleasance Online platform, Popelei presents PUSH, a filmed theatre piece about a woman and a pregnancy test. The language is weird, static, and poetic, the mood is comic, the pace fast and frenetic., the performance manic and moving.

The setting is all white, background and costume, until the moment of reveal, where pinks start to make an appearance. The choreography is sharp, staccato, pushing at the heart of an emotional turmoil when you want to be a mother but the clock is ticking, and a tsunami of feelings starts to hammer at your head and dig into your heart.

In just thirty-five minutes, this is a hard-hitting piece which suggests in a range of styles the conflicting emotions around a potential pregnancy. With pulsing music suggestive of a heartbeat (or two), the performer reacts to her changing body (at 37): is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Promotional image for PUSH

Having a baby is not just disruptive to a way of life, it is also the greatest miracle as your body grows something new, something which is part of you but eventually has to face life on its own.. A silent moment of reflection and resolution, of calm and cool. Some scenes are designed to shock the viewer, played to what you expect an expectant mum to do, challenging you to intervene or look away.

With a meta scene that pulls you out of a performance, and a conclusion that makes you think, this is a piece which may repay a couple of viewing. Tamsin Hurtato Clarke’s performance is strong, with Scarlett Plouviez’s direction and Jack Offord’s cinematography making this piece of digital theatre full of emotional twists and turns, with Santiago Jara Astaburuaga’s music adding a layer to highlight this woman’s emotional and physical state.

Fringe rating: ****

You can stream PUSH during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe until 30 August: book here.