Where the Hell is Bernard?
Assembly George Square Studios
Pod 17 is the sorting pod; they obey the great vine and are a productive trio until their regular routine is interrupted.
Bernard doesn’t step up to the podium to be evaporated once his 50 years of function are up. Instead, he runs and inspires them to run too.
With echoes of many science fiction novels, the tale that follows is one of self-discovery as the trio stumble into forbidden rooms, experience music and discover their maternal instincts.
Whilst Bernard may offer clues, he’s not the only one tracking them, the disembodied voice of the great vine ever-present, alternating between ordering and luring them back to their former lives.
Physicality is a key component of this piece and initially the marionette-style synchronicity lends a creepiness to the setting. This gives way, however, to plenty of comedic moments and, although there is some dialogue, it is the array of facial expressions and awkward interaction that really make the show.
Where the Hell is Bernard? is also a script that creates more questions that it answers. Is this set in a dystopian future? Who is the vine? Are they human? It’s one big tease but an oddly satisfying one, this mini adventure a snapshot of an existence very different to our own.
With clever use of storage boxes, dramatic music, song and effective puppetry, the almost-bare stage transforms into a clinically futuristic environment, home to an intriguing short story.
Reviewer: Amy Yorston