A Sudden Burst of Blinding Light

It’s a rarity that one exits a show having absolutely no idea what just happened. Such was the case with A Sudden Burst. I think it was a game show, but I’m not quite sure. I think it was meant to be funny, but again, I’m not quite sure how. I spent most of my time in a state of bewilderment.

A Sudden Burst, written and performed by students from Cambridge University, consists mainly of two characters, Jude (Maya Achan) and Leon (Malcome Ebose), who tell their story via a game show. What this story is, I’m not quite sure. Leon is a magician and can make people disappear, including himself. He was also abused as a child, I think, but I’m genuinely not sure. Jude has a “mad and sad” mother. Yeah. Admittedly, Jude and Leon stood in abject confusion throughout most of the show as well, so it wasn’t just me. The two game show hosts, who were ex-husband and wife, had almost clowning roles in their capacity as facilitators and destructors of the story.

Short interlude: A “special guest” called Frankie Valium arrived halfway through in a silver and red velvet ABBA-style body suit. I’m not sure why he was there. Later he reappeared in an apron (over the bodysuit you understand) and yellow rubber gloves.

There were moments I enjoyed. There are glimpses of wonderful script work; Jude puts on sunglasses and imagines herself in Paris. Suddenly there is a straight-faced dance routine which showed promise for the company. The writer, Ben Maier, was so nearly there. He very nearly had an interesting, investigative show about love and capitalism. It just missed the mark. It was like one of those mazes that doesn’t have a right answer, and every new direction is a dead end.

I really hope these guys keep trying because the acting was good and the writing was so so close. And you all have fabulous dance moves.

A SUDDEN BURST OF BLINDING LIGHT @ Gilded Balloon, 2.30pm

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