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Touching The Void - Bristol Old Vic REVIEW

The line from Bristol Old Vic's Tom Morris of “Live theatre is back!” was met with applause on the opening night of the Bristol theatre after so long being closed.

In celebration, their 2018 production of Touching The Void has returned to the stage (and your screens at home).

Photo by Michael Wharley

Based on the 1998 internationally bestselling memoir and the BAFTA-winning film, we follow climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates on their expedition to scale the Siula Grande.

Bristol Old Vic took the immersive and intense production up a level with its inventive camera angles and live mixing. What is already an explorative and engaging piece of drama has been amped up by the energy created by the dynamic filming and mixing.

Photo by Michael Wharley

The first half began a little disjointed. Dialogue felt rushed and messy as we bounced from scene to scene but as the plot unravelled the cast found their pace and settled into some strong performances.

The brash and abrasive performance from Fiona Hampton as the concerned sister felt a little much when juxtaposed with Josh Williams and Angus Yellowlees laid back characters.

Photo by Michael Wharley

The comedy element was delivered by Richard who narrated the scale of the mountain in his adorable scene-stealing style.

The humour was perhaps slightly overused in moments of drama and peril leaving the jokes to stick out like a sore thumb rather than weave with the overall tone of the production.

The lighting by Chris Davey and set by Ti Green really excel when the peak of the mountain moves downstage. The combination of their talents creates a convincing mountain right before your eyes. A difficult task by any stretch of the imagination but the pair have pulled it off effortlessly.

If you are watching from home my advice would be to watch in a darkened room as some moments would benefit from you not having daylight streaming in through your window.

Overall I am so glad that this seriously powerful piece of theatre is now available to watch from home so more people can have the pleasure of the goosebump-inducing theatre that Bristol Old Vic is streaming straight to your sofa.

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