Review by Sophia Gilet
Beginning at the End (of Capitalism) is a show that intrigues from the get go with the advertising of the show offering various images of a sexyily clad woman and space gun pose against futuristic backgrounds.
The show is a 70 minute adventure that feels less like a play and more like film.
It begins when you walk through an odd backstage area where the actress appears to be prepping. We are told to be careful when going to our seat as the equipment is quite delicate. The main stage is one half a bedroom totally in the dark for now and a raised platform with a green screen background. There are not 1 or 2 cameras but 3, set up at various angles and heights around the stage. Nestled in between the two at the very back is the shows wizard of oz. A desk with 2 screens and a lighting console that controls the cameras, sounds and lights.
The veil was very briefly lifted during this show due to technically difficulties which was confidently handled by the team. However the momentum was immediately regained people cheered the fix and on we went.
Beginning at the End (of Capitalism) first wows you with the technical and funny story of Phera our barberella-esque heroine played by the gorgeous Phoebe Sullivan. She has snappy quips, chunky boots, a shiny bright pink onepeice and a whole lotta attitude. We see her on a journey to rescue her mum from evil corporate greed. The use of cameras, green screen and audio is quirky,and instantly recognisable from the sailormoon-esque villains to fighting a wannabe Godzilla- another performer hilarious dressed in a dinosaur onesie.
The story, while predictable, gets cheers from the crowd as she triumphs. As we see her and her flaws we expect and anticipate the moments of loss and triumphs, as she always gets back up and fights. This is flipped in the final boss battle where we see her trek across the stage and undress from her costume into trackydacks and jumper and lie on the bed.
Confused I waited and found a complete gear change happen.
This section of the show amazes with the ability to tell so much without a single word.
One of the camera is still in use as the focus goes completely to the bedroom half of the stage. Shout out to the brilliant cinematographer Georgi Ivers who did all the camera work live.
A post covid life encapsulated so beautifully it seems to be an foreign art film from another country.
It adds a level off pathos the first part avoided. And while it brings everything down it focuses on the monotony, and it feels as though you know every though going through her head. Every movement is felt and every sigh, silliness and keystroke.
This section takes a much more serious look at consumerism and fashion.
And finally it takes your breathe away with the sheer heart and soul this show and this performer has. Phoebe shares all, her ugly complicated messy self and it is glorious. She tells of her relationship with clothes her frustration with the system and herself and she talks about debt, but not just the debt owed to banks and lenders but the debt owed to our mothers. She offers no concrete solutions except empathy and love, just pure unadulterated love.
Very rarely does a show travel between wildly different genres and styles so well, but this show does. No doubt due to the director Joe Paradise Lui and incredible team that helped to create and run this one woman show.
Image Credit: Daniel Grant