Unassuming at the start, A V Brodrenkova and Aimee Dickinson’s Foundations quickly breaks all boundaries and assumptions. A heartwarming tale of friendship, family, growing up and acceptance, this piece of theatre is an incredible tapestry of movement and puppetry that makes the darkness of the stage and the world, a little brighter.
Finds beauty in the ordinary
After years of hearing stories about robots in an underground factory from her Aunt Yann (Hannah Lydon), MJ (Charlie Culley) stumbles into a liminal space between the human factory where she works and the Underground, where she meets Pins (Olivia Swain). The two grow closer as they teach and learn about each other, breaking assumptions on what it means to be human or robot. It is a simple yet incredibly beautiful premise full of love, hope, and bittersweetness that is compounded by the cast’s storytelling abilities. It is hard not to look at the action onstage with a sense of childlike wonder. This is a show for everyone, although it seems that the older you are, the bigger the emotional payoff, as there is a yearning created that makes us want to to escape to MJ and Pins' bubble, where mundane things like rain are extraordinary and where music box dances exist.
From Brodrenkova’s puppets that are incredibly expressive in themselves (supplemented by Swain and Rory Gee’s performance) to Josh Powell’s sound design that is incredibly detailed, for example when MJ first finds the robots, everything goes towards recreating an industrial landscape. The synchronicity of the movement is fascinating, simply in the way that the cast make the space that they are inhabiting seem bigger, and are able to show so much without having to resort to dialogue.
It’s tear-jerking and beautiful to watch the friendship develop between MJ and Pins and seeing them learn from each other, because it’s so innocent and childlike, removed from interference. Foundations is true to its name, and this show finds the beauty in the ordinary.