What’s more important when telling a compelling story of human emotion, feeling or narrative? The answer to this is largely dependent on the viewer’s personal preferences as to how an emotional response is best brought up in them. For some, the desired response is brought about purely through storytelling, but others are moved more through a movement and a look than they ever could be through a monologue. For fans of the latter,
The Nature Of Forgetting is, most importantly, a beautiful spectacle to watch.
Opening on a man with early onset dementia trying on clothes, each item he touches sends him on a journey through his rapidly deteriorating past. Not explicitly a piece of physical theatre or entirely mimed, nevertheless the majority of the show relies on expression more than forward narrative momentum. This adds up to a beautiful sequence which only falters around the time when the plot should be thickening. The twee short segments that open Pixar’s blockbusters are perfect in their five-minute forms, but The Nature Of Forgetting stretches a similar style to 70 minutes and the seams almost begin to show as multiple scenes are portrayed that all add up to the same result (an overflowing nostalgia for an innocent youth).
But The Nature Of Forgetting is, most importantly, a beautiful spectacle to watch. Lighting designer Katherine Graham has created a marvellous canvas for the cast of six to use and every scene contains multiple moments of open-mouthed awe in the audience. Similarly, the cast are electrifying and never fail to perk up a slightly unoriginal display of young school life with their performances. Particular praise must go to Louise Wilcox as the object of leading man Tom’s affections, but every performer in this show is of the highest calibre.
The Nature Of Forgetting is an endlessly creative, delightful piece of theatre which only falters in terms of pure narrative momentum. However, when a show is this good to watch, it almost doesn’t matter that the story is never quite original enough to match up with the inventive choreography on display. A sextet of beautiful performances and dazzling live music make this show well worth seeing and it is undoubtedly a treat for both the eyes and ears. Perhaps appropriately, while the story itself might fade from the audience’s memory, the sight of the cavorting on table tops and the sound of distorted violin strings will stick long in the mind of any audience member.