Pros: An interesting view on love and war
Cons: Some questionable karaoke that might not be to everyone’s taste
The Yard itself is a glorious space, boasting tiered seating and an impressively large stage space for a venue of its size. This play eased naturally into the venue’s minimalistic atmosphere. The backdrop triptych of images depicting France sets enough of a scene without detracting from the raised platform in the centre which has a floor of grass, a bed and the majority of the action.
The play focuses primarily on one encounter between Elodie and Otto and explores the relationship between the two thoroughly. Elodie, though unpredictable and outrageous, induces sparks in young Otto and Rita Kalnejais’ writing depitcs this lively relationship well. There is an interesting dynamic to the development of the characters throughout the piece, with Elodie coming to appreciate Otto’s dedication Nazi cause and Otto in parallel responding to Elodie’s seizures and disregard of the terrors around her. The most poignant piece of writing comes in the form of the final overlapping monologues, when Elodie is shamed for her relationship with a German soldier. She shows no embarrassment and instead laughs in the faces of those who cannot comprehend the bond she now treasures. It’s truly outstanding to contrast the unthinkable horror of the war with the pure thought process of a young teenager, and makes for heartbreakingly real theatre.
Alongside our two protagonists are Alwyne Taylor and Paul Haley, two older actors who are in clear booths on either side of the stage. Interjecting the story with small but questionable anachronisms, modern songs and mumblings, they weave a timeline through the wartime piece and help to build what is quite possibly the most phenomenal soundscape I have heard. The audio, created by Josh Anio Grigg, is was simply breathtaking; intense levels of sound echoing over melodic musings and the chirping of chicks. It gives depth and body to the whole piece. The bold choice to give instrumentals and atmospheric sounds more volume than the spoken word worked for me, by and large. It echoes the overbearing and ever-present conflict within Elodie and Otto’s lives and represents the unforgiving white noise of war.
This piece brings a mixture of light, love and anguish to what is at its very core a story of innocent and opportunistic love. A delight to the ears and soul and technically spectacular, This Beautiful Future gives complex insights into the experience of coming of age in such a frightful time.
A portrayal of powerful love and unquestionable allegiance, with some really quite adorable real life baby chicks (audiences are told to hold the applause until they are taken off stage to prevent fright from loud noises). This Beautiful Future is quite simply a rousing play with an emotional and fantastic narrative arc.
Writer: Rita Kalnejais
Director: Jay Miller
Box Office: 020 3111 0570
Booking Link: http://www.theyardtheatre.co.uk/event/this-beautiful-future/
Booking Until: 20th May 2017