4 December 2017

The Terminal Velocity Of Snowflakes - Live Theatre

There's something special about going to the theatre in December. Even if the production isn't necessarily Christmas focussed, it somehow feels more comforting and special than at other times of the year. I hadn't been to the Live Theatre for a while so it was nice to go back and finally get to see The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes which debuted at the theatre last year (to widespread critical acclaim).



I walked into the theatre and was transported to a magical wonderland, kind of like being in the Ice Hotel with a cloud ceiling (a cacophony of cloud came to mind). Looking around me, most of the audience were transfixed by the set and couldn't take their eyes off it. Nina Berry has written a deeply touching, relatable script featuring two central characters, Rosie (Heather Caroll) and Charlie (Daniel Watson) who hail from Heaton. We're transported to Heaton Park in the first scene and meet them as children, who still have that sense of wonder and innocence as they play around in the snow and connect for the first time (Charlie is a couple of years older than Rosie). 

Rosie (Heather Carroll) and Charlie (Daniel Watson)
Just like soulmates or twins, the fast-paced dialogue is written so that it's like they finish each other's sentences, which I loved. They feel the connection as kids in the park then life gets in the way. We're then shown their parallel lives; Charlie drifting through life in Newcastle and Rosie as a London based student studying physics with a bar job.  In keeping with the title of the play, there are lots of scientific references which might have gone over a few people's heads ( I was thankful to have binge watched the Big Bang Theory recently). The writing as children, teenagers and then young adults is spot on and the actors embody the characters at different ages brilliantly.  You find yourself rooting for the characters quickly as they let you in on lots of relatable challenges they're experiencing such as  parents drifting apart as they get older, struggling to figure out your life purpose, feeling numb and depressed, loneliness and other typical growing pains. 

The magical set 
I loved the concept of parallel lives that is explored often during the play - Rosie gets on the Tube whilst Charlie simultaneously jumps on the Metro in one scene; I enjoyed the way that the actors circle around each other even when they're not physically in each others' space. No two snowflakes are the same but it quickly becomes clear that these two are meant for each other. Will it take them their whole lives to find each other? You'll have to see it to find out (no spoilers here). Rosie teaches us about physics theories such as probability, quantum mechanics and entanglement theory (entangled particles remain connected so that actions performed on one affect the other, even when separated by great distances) which fit perfectly with the story which defies linear time and space.

The dream-like, time travelling aspects of the script are magical and thought-provoking
The script rapidly jumps from showing us their childhood encounter to seeing them as teenagers to their early twenties, but at one point projects forward and backward in time rapidly to different points in their lives which is so moving and emotional. You can't help thinking about your own life and how it will look or has looked at various points. The script examines life from a scientific point of view as well as an existential and spiritual viewpoint - how much of our lives is governed by divine timing, fate and chance events? I was reminded of time travel, and how we can travel in time in our own minds to the past and to the future and how we visualise that things will turn out. There's a strong sense of travelling through time whilst watching the production.

There's a point later on the play when the action builds and the cloud lights flash brightly which set every nerve ending in my body on fire and gave me goosebumps. I cried a couple of times and tried my best to hold it together at the end (which was tough but I didn't get tissues beforehand against the advice of one of the members of staff). I left in awe of the great work by Heather and Charlie to be word-perfect throughout, the brilliant writing and the excellent work of the creative team who made the set, sound and other aspects of the production look simple and easy when it was probably quite complicated to create the overall effect.  I was reminded that our lives our full of infinite possibilities and choices, and the overriding feeling that we're never in control, even though tell ourselves that we're calling the shots. And to remember to recognise the wonder and beauty of life. Let's just say that things come full circle in the end.

The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes is at the Live Theatre in Newcastle until Saturday 16th December - click here to visit the website/book.

*I received a ticket in exchange for a review


No comments:

Post a comment

TEMPLATE DESIGNED BY PRETTYWILDTHINGS