Theatre Re astounded audiences at The Fringe two years ago with their critically acclaimed The Nature of Forgetting, and they return to Edinburgh with a brand-new and emotionally charged piece of physical theatre in the form of Birth, playing at the Pleasance Courtyard.
While there are some spoken segments within the piece, don’t expect to pick up every word that is being said. That’s because spoken word takes a back seat to allow the movement and music to tell this poignant story.
We follow several generations of the same family at those pivotal life moments when a new baby is expected. The arrival of a new baby is a joy experienced by millions of families across the world every day, and there will be shared experiences that feel unique to each new set of parents. But many families will also suffer tragedy too with the loss of a child, their experience can also feel unique but often goes undiscussed.
Theatre Re have spent fifteen months researching Birth, and it shows. The story that unfolds feels tragically familiar but so deeply personal. Conceived and directed by Guillaume Pigé, and devised by the company this painted canvas of emotion sweeps over the audience with
Alex Judd’s music plays such an important role in this piece, it is stirring, rousing and beautiful, but at the same time completely devastating. Combined with stunning choreography Theatre Re create magic on stage, as flowing white sheets replace one scene with the next – characters dissolving in to the folds before our very eyes. One scene in which Emily is having a nightmare is particularly striking visually, but the whole thing just looks incredible.
Birth seems to touch each member of its audience at a very human level. We all have an experience of loss, and this production taps in to that, but while this packs a raw emotional punch, it is also filled with hope and joy. The depiction of family is so perfectly captured it could be a photograph that resides in any of our albums.
This is possibly one of the most beautifully designed, and most emotionally charged pieces of theatre I’ve ever seen take to the stage. It’s bravery, complexity and elegance is awe-inspiring to watch, and if this were a painting it would be hanging in the National Gallery, for Birth is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Main Image Credit: Hannah Anketell