Midnight. France 1944. French fifteen year old Elodie is sprinting to meet her lover, seventeen year old German soldier Otto. Two star-crossed lovers anticipate their beautiful lives. They seek shelter together, nestled like precious, newly-hatched eggs in their safe, idyllic utopia in a cottage on the outskirts of a village. This is where our play is set, and as director Jay Miller supports, 'A dozen little miracles appear quietly, then fade away from view'. We, the audience, hear the sound of planes whizzing around overhead and the beautiful future that the teenagers predict, is ironically crushed as the play progresses.
Playwright Rita Kalnejais cleverly captured ominous dualities that humans are unwillingly forced to think about- love and war. Or: Hope and war, Innocence and experience, Control and vulnerability, Idealism and Nazism. 'Everyone falls in love, everyone has that experience and you want to speak directly to the heart in theatre… we're so innocent in love, and it bypasses our politics, it bypasses our judgment'. She's effortlessly interwoven pain with love, into a mesmerising story.
This is the third run of 'This Beautiful Future' at the Yard Theatre and it's not difficult to see why. After you've seen it, you cannot help but view is as poignant in today's world. With Brexit, elections and the political climate it's evident that humans have an innate need for power. A craving so grotesquely strong, like stray cats ferociously chewing down anything they can scavenge. The scary thing is when the audience witness young Otto's brainwashing. At first he's seen half-naked reduced to his pure white boxers, but eerily regurgitating Nazi regime orders like Mr Hitler. His naivety is likeable, as despite the bloodcurdling brainwashing, we are still watching a boy, who we care for. Tom Morley does a sublime job of bringing truthfulness to a teenager who's dancing between the darkness of war and the candyfloss of youth.
It takes two to tango and the lovely lady whom he has butterflies for is the Elodie. Fearless and vivacious, Abigail Lawrie is sublime. She perfectly wears the rose-tinted glasses of youth within Elodie, who flutters around the stage like the butterflies in her tummy. There's a chatty charm in her words and her ability to blur the lines between playful child and coy adult is flawless. Energy oozes from her and she's chatty, nervously laughing and daintily giggling just like a teen in swirly, daydreamy, candyfloss love. Theatrical magic is present as the chemistry of the two is magnetic as they aimlessly wander through life. Their half-formed, silly thoughts radiate a warmth and you can always see the other hanging on every sweet word. They're silly and sheltered by their innocence as they try to navigate eachother's bodies with sincere uncertainty. We wish for them to be nestled like eggs forever. Extra brownie points are awarded to Christopher Nairne's lighting desigh, which wistfully blends between the soft pastel hues of the past and the more striking bold colours towards the present.
It's hard to write this review without giving away too much, as I really did love it. I grinned from ear to ear right from the start. However, it must be stressed that this is not just a stereotypical love story. Boy meets girl. Fall in love. Something bad happens and cry, cry, cry, the end. With Miller's stylish direction and Kalnejais's awe-striking script, magic really does happen. 'This Beautiful Future' is quite an unthinkably rare theatrical alchemy. All of the puzzle pieces fixed together as shown in the picture on the back of the puzzle box. But, it all kind of moulded together further than that into an unthinkably huge (and undeniably beautiful) transformation.
You need to see this before it ends on the 25th November. For more information, click here.