Beulah

Beulah is a new take on a musical. That's what you need to know, first and foremost. Beulah is a new take.

Grab folk music, add a sprinkling of William Blake, a healthy dose of storytelling and some incredibly puppetry (that defies all the 'rules' of using puppets) and you'll be close. The result of this little potion is a fantastical, emotionally intense rollercoaster of a production, that breathes profoundly fresh ideas into everything you thought you knew about life.

The average 80 year old has slept for 23.3 years, or so our hosts Ed and Jim tell us. Within those two timeframes, we quantify everything - days, hours, minutes, seconds... Everything, and, as Jim and Ed explain, we can look at life so differently. In taking two stories - one featuring everyday people, one featuring lions, kings and queens - Alexander Wright's Blake inspired, new piece of theatre, takes you on the most mystical of journeys. Voiceovers, items of clothing, instruments you've never heard of - they all combine to create a whole new world that you'll wish you'd always experienced.

Musically, the show cannot be faulted. Mixing a variety of folk styles - familiar and not - the musicianship on display is magnificent. Tom Bellerby's direction too is subtle but exactly what the show needs - it gives order to disorder, sense to the nonsensical. The combination of talents that has culminated in this production shouldn't be sniffed at, and at its peak, they combine to make a truly beautiful piece of theatre.

Highlights cannot be separated. At each stage of the musical, I found myself questioning whether it could get any better. From the first few songs, to the chemistry between Jim and Ed, to the puppet-based movement sequence, this is a Titan of a show consistently building on and improving on what has gone before it.

So yes, this is a new take on a musical. Everything you expected, everything you wanted - it won't be given to you. Everything you didn't know you needed: that's what you'll be given. Beulah takes you on an incredible journey, and it is not one that can be explained, it's one that needs to be experienced.

Reviews by Sue Denham

Underbelly, George Square

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★★★★★
Multiple Venues

La Voix: Red Hot Globe Trot

★★★★★
Leicester Square Theatre

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★★★★★
Leicester Square Theatre

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★★★★★
The Assembly Rooms

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★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

From last year's MTM award-nominated life changing theatre, FlanCol dally in time, space, dreams, reality, William Blake, and what happens after life. A beautiful, delicate tale stuck between this world and the next. ***** (ThreeWeeks). @FlanCol #LittleFest. www.theflanagancollective.co.uk.

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