Analogue Theatre makes imaginative use of multi-media techniques and Beachy Head opens with a startling 3-D effect suggesting the show will be a dissection of the living as much as the dead. Unfortunately this is not the case.
Amy (Katie Lightfoot) tries to understand why her husband Stephen (Dan Ford) committed suicide. Documentary filmmakers accidentally recorded the suicide and hope to use the footage. Surprisingly, writers Dan Rebellato, Emma Jowett and Lewis Hetherington examine the subject from a professional, rather than personal, point of view.
A doctor (an understated but conflicted Sarah Belcher) outlines the techniques used by medical professionals to retain objectivity. This contrasts with the ghoulish enthusiasm with which the filmmakers exploit the tragedy. This is intellectually and morally interesting but has little emotional impact. The more harrowing question of whether Stephen’s suicidal tendencies were concealed from, or ignored by, his wife is not addressed.
After a stunning opening, directors Liam Jarvis and Hannah Barker allow the pace to sag considerably. The screen upon which images are projected is left blank in the centre of the stage for so long that it becomes a distraction.
Beachy Head is a disappointingly dull examination of what should be a terrifying subject.