The Holbeck Underground Ballroom’s presentation of Beulah and Some Small Love Story saw the marriage of two exquisitely matched pieces of musical theatre, both expertly navigating unique stories through varying forms of drama and music, to create an evening of breath-taking magic and atmosphere.
Directed by Noreen Kershaw, Beulah effortlessly weaves together storytelling, music, song and drama, to produce a gloriously bittersweet ode to the mysteries of dreams and childlike imagination, and a triumphant championing of those who defiantly reject limitations, and embrace the impossible and as possible. The magnetic duo, Jim Harbourne and Ryland Teifi, performed with such warmth and arresting sincerity, joyously bringing to life the surreal characters – a young boy voyaging through his dreams, or ‘Beulah’, with its queen – masterfully moving from delightful flourishes of humour to heart-stopping moments of tragic beauty.
Beulah effortlessly weaves together storytelling, music, song and drama, to produce a gloriously bittersweet ode to the mysteries of dreams and childlike imagination
This was interlaced with wonderfully captured recordings mapping the love story of Lyca and Liam, and the overall result was one of aching poignancy. Beulah wrestles with notions of transience, and whether the beauty of human emotion truly triumphs over the physical, reducible facts about our existence.
Some Small of Love Story, like Beulah, seamlessly shape shifts from storytelling to wonderful song, telling the story of two couples, how they fell in love, and their lives thereafter. Minimally staged, with just four actors standing side by side for the duration of the performance, the atmosphere created was no less than spellbinding. Sending us back and forth in time, the audience was treated to a skilfully arranged performance in which all four performers demonstrated remarkable range, depth and musical flair, perfectly capturing the exhilarating chase of falling in love and all that can follow.
Overall both performances excelled in their delightful uniqueness and readiness to break boundaries.