Beneath

Daniel Gee Husson
Lighter Fluid Theatre Company and New Celts Productions
theSpace on the Mile

Beneath

Tess and Jo have been stuck in a bunker under the sea for untold months, the result of cataclysmic climate change and a world now unlivable. Jo thinks they are the last humans alive, but not everything is quite as it seems, as one day, a pair of outsiders crawl through a shadowy passage, and one seems to know Tess very well.

Daniel Gee Husson’s absurdist cautionary tale about the end of the world as we know it tries to juggle many balls. This is a particularly apt feat as the cast are uniformly daubed in clownish make-up and robed in costumes that are ragamuffinish and bizarre, all adding to the strange unreality of the production.

It’s unfortunate then that the story that unspools never lives up to this aspect of the premise, and feels rather more like a mess of disparate ideas and plot threads that mainly go nowhere. The relative ages and indeed the personalities of the characters themselves are indistinct and change randomly at various points in the story. Many of the pertinent questions are brushed over or ignored, as are a whole host of dangling plot threads and points which are never answered.

It’s a particularly screwball moment when one suddenly exclaims that they are actually a trained doctor, despite up till then presenting more like a confused child rather than an educated medical professional. Similarly, when the new arrivals Kris and Dani appear, one hints at a previous relationship with Tess, but this is never fully explained, nor is the age or the reasoning behind Dani’s presence and their relationship either.

It’s all a bit of a shame, as when things do settle down into an actual conversation between two characters reminiscing about the past, it does start to make a little sense, but it’s all too little too late; and without tying anything up before the end, in favour of dropping adolescent platitudes about the play’s overall message.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan