"The Future For Beginners"
The new piece from liveartshow – a company set up by playwright Alan Harris, composer Harry Blake and director Martin Constantine – is “The Future For Beginners”, a chamber musical, which was presented in the Weston Studio at the Wales Millennium Centre. Experimental in the sense that it places naturalistic action in a non-naturalistic context (and that it’s still in development), it’s a parody on relationship control-freakery: a couple have tried to ensure that they stay together forever by planning out every day of their lives on the sheets of paper which dominate the set; but they have lost “Day 1”, and are consequently on the verge of breaking up. The protagonists, attractively played by Oliver Wood and Bethan Mary-James, rehearse future crises, both major and minor, and amusingly let us in on their variously converging and diverging neuroses. There is much artful use of voice-over, as well as video projection; and it was good to see the ukulele placed centre-stage, illustrating the characters’ quirks and aspirations. There was a mixture of songs, both standards (sung by Martin Helliwell, who should perhaps have been more fully integrated into the action) and originals - although the most effective moment was the climactic rendition of Death Cab For Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into The Dark”. A clever, charming show, which could enjoy a long life.