Genevieve Walsh ‘Aber’ review

Writer, poet & Phoenix Radio presenter:

It’s hard to know where to begin when describing ‘Beyond Dreams Of Aberystwyth’. The word ‘moving’ seems like a lazy cliché, but in another sense it’s a very fitting description, as this performance perfectly depicts a sense of both physical and emotional movement.

This show consists of one woman and a suitcase full of objects, on a relatively small stage. That’s it. But as the show progresses, Emma unpacks a suitcase full of memories, turning the stage into a microscopic world, as if unfolding an origami bird to reveal a treasure map. Her use of the space is incredibly clever, and leads the audience to make a very tangible connection with the journey she embarked upon.

The objects and the space would, of course, be nothing without Emma’s honest and vivid stories. Calling this a ‘one-woman show’ feels inappropriate. The other people concerned in this tale – her family, and the various people she met on her travels – seem present upon the stage too. As an audience member, you are basically packed into Emma’s suitcase and taken on the journey with her, and that is all down to her frank and fantastic delivery. It’s not often that you’ll be captivated like that.

Be prepared to smile and at least feel close to crying, because this is a show depicting emotional depths which you can’t ignore. In short, ‘Beyond Dreams Of Aberystwyth’ is a show which will sneak into your heart and paint intricate pictures in your mind.

‘Beyond Dreams of Aberystwyth’ – the Lowry, Salford Quays, 21 March 2013.

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