Beyond Belief is a show by Tmesis Theatre exploring the future of life and death in our technology and social media obsessed society. The fragility of life seems to be compromised when tech company Beyond Belief finds a way to ensure our digital souls can live forever.
The story is told through the passing of Chloe (Eleni Edipidi) and the resurrection of her digital soul with Beyond Belief, and her husband Simon’s (Charles Sandford) consequent dealings with the aftermath of her death and Beyond Belief. The performance almost has a feel of the Netflix series ‘Black Mirror’ in that a story has been based on the collective unease about the modern world.
The inventive set (design by Stephanie O’Hara) perfectly encapsulated the subject matter with boxes and platforms decorated in the style of a computer motherboard. This was complemented by Sophie Bailey’s lighting design, and a clinical, futuristic vibe was achieved. Throughout the performance, the set was utilised by the performers and incorporated into the physical theatre elements. This was further reflected in the performer’s costumes of dark blue jumpsuits with computer systems and symbols featured. The cast were completely uniform except for when portraying individual characters they had small nods to costume, such as a pair of glasses or a neckerchief etc.
All the components of the show fit together seamlessly and truly cannot be faulted. The four performers: Nick Crosbie, Eleni Edipidi, Jennifer Essex, and Charles Sandford, worked incredibly well together and must be applauded for their pure skill. Tmesis’ trademark playful physical style shone through, and the performers seemed in their element throughout. The physical theatre elements were stunning, and the balances, lifts, and movements created were special to watch.
An extra dimension was that of the music, by Meike Holzmann, that featured old-timey music, techno/EDM music, instrumentals, and even a cappella pieces performed beautifully by the cast. Some of the pieces were modified or distorted to fit with the story which created an eerie atmosphere. Another clever device was Jane Farley’s video design with chilling advertisements of the company Beyond Belief.
The piece as a whole was extremely thought-provoking. It makes one think about the increasingly technological age we live in - if we are really going to let technology surpass us humans, and if we perhaps need to evaluate the precedence we’re giving to machines, before religion is overturned and even believe as Beyond Belief do that ‘death is optional’.
A truly stunning piece of theatre. Unsettling, poignant and compelling.
Reviewer: Becky Mottershead
Reviewed: 14th March 2019
North West End Rating: ★★★★★