Theatre review: Perle, Assembly Roxy, Roxburgh Place

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THOMAS is upset. So much so, he can’t bring himself to speak. People want to know when he’s going to return to work, why he won’t accept help, why he refuses to move on.

Rendered mute by his grief, Thomas instead chooses to communicate via video tapes on his 
television.

Early on, we receive a firm clue as to what’s caused his isolation and depression, but that doesn’t stop you wanting to know how it all came to be.

Based on one of the English language’s oldest poems, Perle is a charmingly emotional, yet ever-so-slightly frustrating piece of innovative theatre.

For one thing, Thomas’ square TV – “a crucial element” the stage-hand rightly attests – is too small to see properly (tip: sit near the front). The words on its screen are sometimes too big to squeeze in the space available, and the odd inclusion of an audience member or three is more for their benefit than the story.

A bittersweet way to spend an hour.

Rating: * * *

• Until Monday

BARRY GORDON