Directed by Michael Woodwood, Bump has been given a new lease of life at the Tristan Bates theatre as part of Camden Fringe. It’s been extended since its last outing at the Edinburgh Fringe, and whatever has been added is definitely of value, there’s not a single word or movement wasted in the whole performance, and at the same time it’s unimaginable that any part of it wouldn’t be there.
Two characters, Eliana and Ian, are running late, they’ve forgotten to put the clocks back, and in the inevitable panic which follows they have a slight collision on the road, but end up exchanging more than insurance details. In a frenetic sixty minute rom-com their relationship blossoms over a number of weeks and we see the fragility of romance.
The overarching theme is that this twist of fate has left the two connected in some way, Ian describes it like two particles of an atom. This is woven in seamlessly throughout the performance with both actors working in absolute symmetry. Their words intertwine with each other’s whilst they rationalise their thoughts to the audience. There’s a third particle at work here, because every piece of music and sound effect comes in at just the right second, it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from a tech booth but from the very actors themselves.
Bump is super-fast paced and the pair fly about the stage at lightning speed, in what can only be described as perfectly choreographed movements. Even the act of sending a text message is given a glorious physicality. There are a couple of montage type scenes which are a joy to behold, set to an uplifting soundtrack they tell so much of the story, without a word being spoken.
Oriana Charles and Andrew Hollingsworth are beautifully expressive in their roles and demonstrate what working as part of a team is all about, they have got this performance spot on. All that’s really on the set are two desks and office chairs, but they are put to good use and there always seems to be something new to look at, red tinged props seeming to appear from nowhere.
Bump is not only very funny, but also particularly touching at points. It would be impossible not to sit smiling for almost the entire performance, this is a gorgeous piece of physical theatre perfectly executed, and so breakneck that it’s only at the end do you feel able to draw breath.