Elegant, bold and beautifully choreographed, Square Peg Theatre will take your breath away with Forwards and Backwards. The story slowly unfolds, breaking chronological time as its title would suggest. Fragments of the relationship between Andrew (Lecoq trained Michael White) and Catherine (Katie Robinson) are woven together, each scene neatly pirouetting into the next. This is quite a difficult thing to script and perform without it becoming confusing, but the effect is beautifully achieved. Like a jigsaw puzzle each piece is thoughtfully added to create the whole picture.
Andrew is an ambitious graduate, keen to make his name in the capitalist world which Catherine so detests, (they always say opposites attract). The points of tension in their relationship develop until a devastating image is complete. She wants to travel, protest against world hunger and talk about environmental issues. He wants a four by four, kids and a 10 year plan. Katie Robinson gives a poignant and thoroughly believable performance which really steals the show. The intelligent and metaphorical writing combines with their physical style to portray the damage to her dreams. The writing is very strong throughout the piece, the vernacular natural and the moments of philosophical insight engaging. Towards the end her lines echo his from the beginning, conveying the impact life has had on her identity.
There are some funny moments too, the kind of comedy that sneaks into such an emotional piece. Like the way his mother refuses to remember Catherine is vegetarian and Andrew begging her not to mention Greenpeace or show her tattoos around his parents.
A little more explanation as to why there were together in the first place would have been beneficial, as the chance meeting is appealing but could have done with some bolstering throughout the performance. However it is not often that I go to theatre and feel so affected by the performance. This is a very promising theatre company and well worth keeping an eye upon.