Tristan Bates Theatre
Reviewed – 28th August 2018
“an exciting thriller that succeeds at combining dystopian politics with a fascinating insight into the manipulation of truth”
In the silence after a storm, at the moment between attack and retaliation, when more than a million people have already died from bombs and a country is questioning its future, two men meet in a bunker. They are enemies, it is ruthless fanatic versus righteous rebel, with nothing but a table between them, ready to fight for their ideals. Neither of them suspects that by the end, they will not know which side they are on anymore.
What appears at first to be a political work soon becomes a kaleidoscope of human interaction and communication. Reasoning and logic are deployed like weapons to uproot formerly fixed ideals. Both a play of ideas and power, the conversations between attacker and rebel demonstrate a flexibility of truth that resonates strongly with current discussions. While this emergence of individual truths as opposed to factual truths leaves an eerie feeling of helplessness, the absurdity of false logic feels like relief.
Marco Quaglia and Stefano Patti deliver electrifying performances. In their volatile, unpredictable and often illogical attempts to justify their positions, they create an almost oppressive tension in the room that is kept up throughout the play.
The suspense is supported by Echoes’ flawless interplay of sound (Matteo Gabrielli and Samuele Ravenna), lighting (Paride Donatelli) and direction (Stefano Patti). The theatre, with its bare blackened walls, seems to reverberate with the bass as bombs are falling, almost evoking the smell of the stale filtered air of a bunker. And while the lighting moves between realistic and abstract illuminations around the simple set, there are moments when there is complete darkness, inviting the audience to feel the reality of some of the issues raised.
Echoes is not only an exciting thriller that succeeds at combining dystopian politics with a fascinating insight into the manipulation of truth, but also a well-directed and entertaining show.
Reviewed by Laura Thorn
Photography by Paolo Palmieri
Tristan Bates Theatre until 8th September