Contemporary fairytales have never been more mesmerizing
than Winchester based Platform 4’s production Bliss, previewed
at Salisbury Playhouse last week.
Emma and Louis are two souls washed up on a desert. Their story
slowly, very slowly unfolds through balletic movement, haunting
music (with more that a similarity to Ry Cooder’s soundtrack
for Paris –Texas), a few words and night time stories told
and re-told over and over again, each finishing the other’s
story, such is their familiarity and love.
Director Catherine Church’s production is incredibly beautiful
to watch, while also being inventive, creative and evocative.
Simon Plumridge has created a set based on a Paul Klee painting
resembling a commune under the sun, though this commune has just
Catherine Skinner and James Bellorini give humanity to Emma and Louis.
You really do care about their characters as they send party invites to paper
people their life seems blissful, or is it?
Into this idyll an apple appears growing on the only piece of
vegetation that has not completely died, a green, gleaming apple.
Enter Jackie, a simply stunning performance by Stevie Thompson
as Louis’ sister. She is the catalyst, serpent, monster,
all rolled into one.
Writer Matthew Wilkie has filled the pay with symbolism with more
that a nod to Paradise Lost, Genesis and TS Eliot’s poem
The Waste Land with its heap of broken images of a set. Chris
Talman’s sensitive mandolin and guitar playing complemented
the production perfectly.
Anne Morris. Salisbury Journal Oct 19 2006
"A haunting, tantalising piece of work." Syd
Simons, Programmer, Gillingham School.
"Fascinating and enchanting - so useful and the workshop
was so beneficial to our students." Barbara Brann,
Drama Teacher Bournemouth School for Girls.
“The play both fascinated and confused our students, which
is exactly what we hoped. Coming as they do from a background of
story as naturalistic and based on simplistic linear narrative
it was really inspiring for them to see something that made them
think. Once we had discussed the story (which is always their first
port of call as they think that 'getting it' is the be all and
end all of theatre!!) we were able to discuss the work of the company
and the director and consider how stories can be told through a
variety of means. In particular they commented on the use of stillness
and silence, and the time it took to develop the premise and characters.
Which has now become a major theme in our study of texts, as they
battle against the instinct to tell the audience everything in
the first five minutes. Some of the students who were sat stage
left commented that they were unable to see Jacqueline's early
entrances and so thought there were sections with 'nothing going
on.' Not a problem elsewhere and something I'm sure you are
aware of! On a personal note I thought the piece was engaging and
well performed. The style of the piece was clearly 'platform
4' and ideas were developed in an interesting way. In particular
the dream sequence with the persistent attempt at waking the dreamer
and the use of music to both reflect and move action forward were
beautifully done. The set was great and the work between the actors
really drew me in to the show and the possible permutations of
the story and its location. Your use of the intimate space and
the way you play with time and character continue to engage and
Jeremy Graves - Drama teacher St Peter's School.