Bloom Theatre, who were one of the first theatre companies to adapt to the digital medium last year with Saplings 2.0, return with Avalanche, filmed late last year on the stage of The Bush Theatre and now released online. Written by Simon Fraser with Jack Albert Cook, it is a searing introspective of a young man who finds himself at the metaphorical cliff edge, debating with himself how to move forward.
This compelling monologue introduces us to Alex; skiing is in his blood and for as long as he can remember the snow and slopes have been his friends. His all-consuming passion for the sport means he has passed up the opportunity to form more meaningful relationships. His only real friend to speak of is Jacob, and despite being his polar opposite, provides a frame of reference for Alex on the path his own life could have taken.
Watching Avalanche, we are left to question if Alex’s loneliness is a result of his own desire to succeed, or if his pursuit of order and perfection stems from the feeling of being detached. In either case, when his own life fractures, the result of a sexual assault, Alex finds himself dealing with it in the same way he has dealt with every other aspect of his life, alone.
Directed by Alistair Wilkinson, Avalanche is somewhat of a slow burner. The character of Alex is, much like snowfall, built up layer by layer, with each new revelation covering the last with a new lens from which to view it. It’s remarkably well written, with all the twists of a slalom race, though guided and measured at every turn.
Sonny Poon Tip navigates the course of this play with tremendous appreciation of the character. From an endearing smile, to breaking down under the weight of his internal ‘confessions’, Sonny Poon Tip ensures we feel immediately connected to the character, and drawn ever deeper in to the story.
The stark locker room set, dark and with a torn plastic backdrop, almost mirrors Alex’s internal conversation. The control and preparation that the character is so proud of, ripped away by a disaster that he could not control, while the odd projection of a snowscape paints the picture of the only window of relief Alex can find.
Just like with Saplings, Bloom Theatre have taken advantage of digital theatre with a fascinating monologue that really explores how someone deals with trauma when they’ve spent their whole life controlling their own isolated world. Rather than go off-piste, Avalanche, with its sharp, poetic writing and tender performance, is a safe bet in the world of online theatre.
Avalanche is available to stream until 7th February 2021 here.