Review: Beulah, The Flanagan Collective, The Studio, York Theatre Royal until July 1 (From York Press)
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Review: Beulah, The Flanagan Collective, The Studio, York Theatre Royal until July 1
BEULAH is a work in progress as musician-actors Jim Harbourne and Ed Wren pointed out at the end of night number two of this premiere’s four-night run.
It is progressing rather well, as it happens, and will be better still for its Edinburgh Fringe run, by which time prolific writer Alexander Wright, director Tom Bellerby and the cast of two will have an exquisite hour of Fringe theatre to make you weep with joy.
Beulah, for the uninitiated, is a world created by the Romantic-minded William Blake, a place that rests pleasantly between earth and heaven. Imagine it as a window that allows you to look from one world to the other, but equally think of it as a land of nod, where we go when we are asleep and let our dreams fly high.
So, normally, you have to be asleep to experience or envisage Beulah, but here is a beatific show that takes you there in a waking state in a story of lions, a boy king, the Aurora Borealis and Lyca and Liam, who was born in a leap year and so has a different concept of time in a play about dreams, reality, time and how we measure ourselves and the world around us.
Wright, a disciple of Blake’s writing, has created a play where Leap-Year Liam can live until 80 by living until 2308. He makes the outwardly impossible suddenly possible, and in the process urges all of us to appreciate the beautiful things in life to the max.
Harbourne and Wren are his messengers on stage, combining relaxed narration with heart-felt, magical storytelling and beautifully sung original songs, performed to harp, kalimba (a thumb piano), harmonium, tea-chest drum and acoustic guitar.
Beulah is theatre at its most beautiful.
Tickets available at the box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk