Beam is one of Granny’s tales. It retells the true story Heather Morgan’s grandmother, with ten pairs of knickers, one dress, a waft of lavender, and a trip across the Atlantic.
Beam is the autobiographical story of Heather’s granny travelling across the Atlantic to Canada to meet her grandfather (whom she had only met a week before at that time). The play is about hope, taking risks, and being unapologetically romantic.
The play is a collaboration between actor Heather Morgan and dance artist Lucy Haighton. It was originally devised as the monologue Beam in January 2016, centring around Granny’s love of jelly beans. Later, the pair developed Beam into a full-length play, with jelly beans becoming jelly babies. The full play also incorporated more movement and an immersive audience interaction. By September 2016 the piece was completed, selected for A Nation’s Theatre festival, and debuted at Moor Theatre Delicatessen.
Although the overall tone is sweet and endearing, it fails to excite the audience for the whole duration
Haighton and Morgan’s choreography is the strongest aspect of this show. The fluid and elegant movement starkly juxtaposes the dainty stiffness of Morgan’s granny characterisation, and these sudden changes are the most intriguing moments of the play. Morgan’s performance is charming and endearing, as well as being effortlessly natural.
However, as an overall piece, Beam is ultimately uneventful. The biggest issue in this show is pacing, with the drawn-out audience interaction becoming stale and well-worn. Although the overall tone is sweet and endearing, it fails to excite the audience for the whole duration. I would have liked to have seen more of the impressive choreography, and the moments of audience interaction to have been made more concise.
Overall, Beam is a show that has a strong performance, with very watchable and enchanting moments. Despite this, however, the pacing of the show is far too slow and there is little to take away from the show after.
Beam in playing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, you can find tickets here.
Image: Joseph Priestley