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Translunar Paradise

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by dpm (subscribe)
dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
Love from beyond the grave
First created at Birmingham's BE Festival, Ad Infinitum's award-winning Translunar Paradise returns to the city, this time at the Hippodrome Theatre's Patrick Centre.

Using a blend of physical theatre, movement and mask with song and live accordion accompaniment, this 75-minute show is a study of bereavement and grief.

Ad Infinitum Translunar Paradise at Birmingham Hippodrome
Translunar Paradise

It focuses on widower William who, after the death of his wife Rose, cannot accept his loss so hides from reality in a world of daydreams and memories. While he still makes tea for two, he sits at his table reminiscing about times spent together with Rose because this allows him to escape the everyday reality of being alone.

But his life-long companion Rose, watches from beyond the grave until, knowing only she holds the key to moving him forward, she steps back into his life to teach him to let go.

Using hand-held masks created by Victoria Beaton, senior sculptor at Madame Tussauds, to portray the elderly couple and then removing them to recreate memories from the past, performers George Mann and Deborah Pugh play their parts with great sensitivity and empathy.

Ad Infinitum Translunar Paradise at Birmingham Hippodrome
Using hand held masks for story telling

Wordlessly interacting, it is in the small gestures he places his hand over hers when they first meet, she taps his arm as an elderly couple that we see the deep love William and Rose have for each other. And in recreating some of the happiest and saddest moments of their lives from their first dance to the horrors of war we see the richness of their experience together.

The drama is accompanied by accordion and vocals by Sophie Crawford which brings a real depth to the connection between the two actors while also adding a touch of nostalgia from her haunting song.

While in most scenes it is evident what is being portrayed, there are times when the story-telling would benefit from more clarity - particularly when the performers are miming without any objects. While it's obvious they are doing something, it's not always obvious just what that something is.

But the overall message of Translunar Paradise is crystal clear - in letting go of Rose, William does not love her any less, he is simply learning to live without her. And while their lives together have been rich and beautiful, he must now carve his own niche into the future rather than constantly looking back at the past. It is this message which ensures Translunar Paradise rises above the well of grief to be uplifting and life-affirming.

Ad Infinitum's current tour of Translunar Paradise continues into March and returns to the West Midlands on Feb 27-28 when it plays Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry. For full details of the tour see
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Why? Poignant story-telling without words
When: 31 January
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome
Cost: from 15
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