Longwave @ Lyric Studio, London

cast list
Tom Lyall
Jamie Wood

directed by
Chris Goode
I have noticed that when I am bored rigid at the theatre, I sit perched on the edge of my chair, leaning forward, in an effort to push myself through the time space continuum, in order to get to the end of the show quicker. But watching Longwave, a fascinating, emotionally involving, two hander at the Lyric last week, I found myself teetering on the end of my seat, not stultified, but utterly intrigued by this spell binding production.

Devised by Signal to Noise, Longwave, is a show without words, that wraps you up in a tale which is so much more than the sum of its parts. It relies on physical theatre and an evocative soundscape courtesy of the award-winning director and sound designer Chris Goode to tell the endearing story of two scientists, Max and Herman, Tom Lyall and Jamie Wood, who are holed up in the middle of nowhere in a jaunty wooden shack-an exquisite set designed by Janet Bird- trying to understand the bizarre and hostile world around them.

Their only connection with the outside world is their wireless radio, a chaperone which siphons in snippets from the outside world. Part Waiting for Godot part Great Escape, this bleak but quirky comedy begins with a wonderfully slapstick opening sequence where you see these two bearded dons cracking on with their experiments in their makeshift laboratory. They potter around, doing painstaking experiments on what can only be described as haggis, which are collected wearing day-glow suits more usually associated with a nuclear incident. But once inside they pass electrical currents through them, test their areo-dynamism, prod them with pipettes and admire their specimens and spend their days carefully logging every bizarre measurement.

The routines of their friendship and how they pass the solitary days are also brought to life in some beautifully choreographed silent ballets as the men transform their one room shack into a lab, a dining room and a dormitory. But within this two man society, harmony is only surface level, and when the radio refuses to turn off and its presence grows and grows to unbearable pitch, the call of the wild outside their doors, becomes too much and the scientists abandon their cabin.

By throwing themselves out of what has become both their nest and prison, they break out of its safety and familiarity, of their habitual routines and, rather than observing life and trying to understand it, they instead choose to participate and throw themselves out into the world.

This bitter sweet production speaks as much about consuming passions, love, friendship and family, about taking risks, and breaking out of the sutures that we think keep us safe but actually prevent us from growing. It is a joy to watch something so expertly and beautifully crafted.

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