Saturday saw the last day of PULSE 2018 and, although it was sad PULSE was coming to a close, it was a great way to end the festival. The day started with two shows for younger audiences but I confidently say that all the family would have enjoyed both Moonfall and I Wish I Was a Mountain. Moonfall, which was aimed at ages three and up, was in the Main House and it was great seeing the auditorium filled with fledgling theatre-goers, who gave the audience such a lovely atmosphere. The circus elements of the production were great and when the two performers were climbing the large rope suspended from the ceiling there were sounds of astonishment from children and adults alike.
I Wish I Was a Mountain was the next show at the Studio and aimed at slightly older children from around seven years old. This was a very thoughtful piece looking at what makes us happy and what we really want or need, it definitely made me think! Toby Thompson also had a great presence on stage, making the audience feel very at ease, as well as good record collection.
Next up was Rachel Mars’s Our Carnal Hearts and although that also had some wish-granting in, it was a very different vibe to I Wish I Was a Mountain. It was performed in the round with four amazing singers sat with the audience which really made you feel part of the show. Our Carnal Hearts looked at envy and I thought it was really interesting because, although we don’t like to admit it, the vast majority of do get jealous of other people and want what we can’t have. Rachel Mars put on an engaging and powerful performance.
Then we were back in the Studio for Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutas’s Palmyra, which I just googled and found out it’s an ancient Syrian city but I don’t know if that’s relevant, but you might be like me and wonder what it means. I really enjoyed this piece even though it didn’t exactly feel enjoyable at the time, to be honest there was more an uncomfortable feeling amongst the audience, but in a good way. Seeing the relationship being played out between Nasi and Bertrand was really interesting and I felt very sympathetic towards Nasi who seemed like he was being pushed over the edge by Bertrand. Although there was probably a bigger metaphor for the show that went over my head, I loved seeing how the audience reacted to what was happening on stage. I very intense piece of theatre.
Then it was off to see the big finale show, Hammerhead by Joseph Morpurgo. I didn’t really know what to expect as the programme didn’t give much away but it turned out to be a great show, if you can call it a show. It was in fact a post-show Q&A for a nine hour Frankenstein adaptation we hadn’t actually seen. I thought Joseph Morpurgo was very funny and I loved how he broke down the traditional performance formula into this Q&A spoof. He took questions from the audience, who did a great job but did struggle to stay on topic, with questions ranging from office romances to singing happy birthday, all to the frustration of Joseph.
The last show of the evening was Paul O’Donnell’s We’ve Got Each Other, a Bon Jovi musical, which because of budget issues, had to be imagined by the audience by Paul’s very vivid descriptions. Although I think I was a little young to fully appreciate the Jon Bon Jovi homage, other audience members, which I think included some pretty big Bon Jovi fans, definitely enjoyed the 80s throwback. I did think Paul did a great job in giving a sense what the imagined musical would look like, hydraulic lift and all.
Maddie and I have enjoyed PULSE 2018 so much and we’re sad it had to come to an end. I guess we’ll just have to start counting down the days till next year. See you at PULSE 2019!