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In search of paradise through love and loss

Translunar Paradise, Warwick Arts Centre, 27-28 Feb.

W B Yeats, in his long poem The Tower, tells how: ‘being dead, we rise / Dream and so create / Translunar Paradise.’

For George Mann, Ad Infinitum’s co-Artistic Director, this was a launch point to explore and express his grief on the death of his father.

Silently, George and Deborah Pugh tell us a love story, performing William and Rose’s courtship, the highs and lows of their life together, seen from the point of view of William’s memory after Rose’s death .

The masks that the performers use when they play the couple in old age become almost fourth and fifth parts, so important are they to the piece.

We are taken backwards and forwards in time through the woman’s pregnancy and miscarriage, the man’s soldiering and homecoming, the couple’s quarrels and reconciliations, their holidays, dances, intimacies and domesticities.

Old William, achingly alone, imagines Rose as still present: he lays the table for two but she, to his confusion and distress, steals the extra place-setting away.

Sophie Crawford suggests the changing mood with her plaintive accordion and fine wordless voice, somehow managing to move props around unobtrusively at the same time.

Translunar Paradise was first performed in 2011 and has been evolving ever since.

That shows: although I had occasional difficulty interpreting the narrative, it flows beautifully and the strength of feeling it conveys is irresistible. These performers are at the top of their lyrical game, expressing universal emotions and memories with finely-honed technique. A totally absorbing 75 minutes.

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