Review: Infinity Pool at the Bikeshed Theatre

Infinity Pool

Photo credit: Remotegoat

Publicised as a play without actors, this short adaptation of Madame Bovary was anything but a play – rather, an installation of live art displaying a love story. Bea Roberts, the writer and performer gave a new edge to the well-known story of a tired mature wife who longs for passion and romance, resulting in an affair. The setting changed from 19th century France to Plymouth 2014. Emma Bovary now works as customer service at a bathroom fitting company and begins her assignations with the anonymously named Kick through social media. First through email before turning to Facebook and texts for “intimacy”.

Infinity pool II

Photo credit: Bikeshed Theatre

Most of the piece had individual actions and conversations displayed on screens; for instance a scene where Emma is on her way to work consisted of one screen displaying a phone conversation (using PowerPoint text), another showing the route she takes to work through projection. Although the actions were interestingly played out, I felt that reading the ongoing conversations between Emma and Kick were a bit dry due to the repeated dialogue. This may have been a reminder to the audience that this was in place of a romantic liaison. That said, there were some unique moments such as the office party which showed the number of shots Emma had taken displayed on one screen while the other showed how dizzy she was getting through the blurred text of the PowerPoint conversation and off-handed sound effects. It was also intriguing to see Roberts take on the character of Emma; seeing her put on a microwave meal for her husband by displaying the microwave on a TV and throwing the tray into a filing cabinet drawer. Except for the office party scene, this was the only time that Roberts embodied Emma showing the frustration of an unsatisfied marriage through her facial expressions and her body language.

After watching Infinity Pool I asked my companion what they’d thought. Their reply was a general mix of “It was an interesting way to tell a story” and “confusion over certain bits due to the amount of media use.” In spite of their views, I nevertheless felt that the piece was impressive in certain factors such as the presentation of the story and the use of social media.

Isobel Saul

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