Translunar Paradise is a phenomenally creative show. However, what makes it stand apart from the multitudes of spark at the Fringe is its sheer competence and slick execution. This is professional theatre of the highest standard - each gesture and sound is meticulously choreographed and efficient, no movement is surplus. The Lecoq-trained mime trio owe a great deal of inspiration to Eastern European symbolic theatre, heavy with gesture and shaded in sober tones of grey. The deft use of almost grotesquely expressive handheld masks enabled the actors to flit between their aged and youthful counterparts with all the delicate transience of memory.
It has a wonderfully simple plot focusing on the reminiscences of an old man (played by George Mann, who also wrote and directed the piece) recently bereaved of a lifetime well spent with his one true love (Deborah Pugh). Kim Heron completes the piece on accordion and vocals. The tenderness of the couple is better expressed through their silence, the swells of the accordion and understated vocal accompaniment expressing a thousand words.
The ethereal name is taken from W.B. Yeats’ poem The Tower, where he writes ‘Being dead, we rise/ Dream and so create/ Translunar paradise’; it is an exploration of ageing and grief, and the fascination with the intangible spirit of a lost love who remains forever out of reach. Although there are so many stunning sequences it is impossible to describe them all, one particularly stands out. Seeing the apparition of his deceased wife, the man tries to touch her and the woman dances out of reach, detaching her aged mask from her face so the man is reaching between her two ‘faces’. This illustrates that, although he sees her clearly, they will never again touch. It is desperately moving scene in which the hopeless yearning for someone you know to be gone is keenly expressed.
Though Translunar is ostensibly a play about bereavement and loneliness - the tick of a clock in an empty house, intuitively making two cups of tea when only one is needed – it is never maudlin. There is a delicate sense of hope that both prompts tears and enchants.