Beat by Cedric Chapuis

The show blended theatre, music and movement seamlessly. 

Beat by Cedric Chapuis

This show allowed for biographical exploration whilst at the same time being exciting and captivating for audiences. It explored the problems with accessing music in the national curriculum and how this spans generations. It highlights how music is often ignored within schools, sidelined for more academic subjects. It explains perfectly societal and parental stigma towards studying arts subjects and how they are often viewed as less important within the education system and within pursuing a career.

However the show captures what is found within the arts and music that other subjects do not value as much: passion, talent and enthusiasm. People work in the arts because they love it and can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s not so much a choice but more following your heart.

He tells the story of his childhood and teenage life, how as much as he tried to please his parents and appease his schooling, he couldn’t ignore being himself and yearning to try for his dream. Whilst academia is preferred by his parents, studying books and staying in education, it’s not what he wants to do. The show manages to share the essence of exactly why it’s important to pursue what you love rather than what you are told or forced to do.

The show was interspersed with musical moments, where we watched his talent and ability to play the drums grow and change along with his teenage descent into adulthood. Despite everyone telling him 'no', he persevered and pursued his passion. The show was broken up by him playing drum solos and against backing tracks, beatboxing and free styling, and he was exceptionally good at it. Incidentally, it  also showed how talented and brilliant he was at theatre and acting during his monologue and solo performance. It shared that it’s OK to not follow the crowd and be different, unique from everyone else is a good thing.

It highlights important issues and challenges facing the education system, the national curriculum and young people today. It’s a problem that transcends time and affected young people of all generations. Music and the arts is consistently sidelined and overlooked in favour of individuals and schools achieving in their chosen fields. The plot is clearly set in an older time as he mentions being ‘clipped around the ear’ by a teacher at school but the story couldn’t be more relevant to today. It clearly sends a message that this a problem that hasn’t been solved but is only getting worse.

It’s relatable to me too. Like the character, I couldn’t play an instrument at school until my later teens because musical instruments were unaffordable and out of reach. Music wasn’t prioritised at my school, and I was met with a series of supply teachers covering our music class with little introduction of the subject. I couldn’t take it as a GCSE because I had never played an instrument in my childhood due to being unable to cover the costs. At school, it wasn’t a priority and so it was overlooked.

The show raises important issues that need facing as music and arts needs to be given recognition. Equally it showed just how talented the actor and musician was at acting, drama, music and performing the drums. Imagine if that talent had not been explored, he had not learnt the drums and there was no show today, what a loss that would be. A wonderful performance.

Header Image Credit: Michael Wharley

Author

Mary Strickson

Mary Strickson Contributor

I love writing, blogging and reviewing on Voice and other online publications, covering a range of topics but I especially love the arts, activism, film and theatre. When I am not writing I work as an events photographer and artist/illustrator, as well as running workshops in schools and the community, mostly with young people. I'm also a huge history nerd, have a History BA, Art History MA and work in heritage. I love comics, superheroes and anything sci-fi.

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