Edinburgh Fringe – BEAT – Pleasance Dome – 4K

By Peter Maddern

While this show has been around in Europe for eight years, this is its first UK season. Alfie (Daniel Bellus) is not like most kids his age and is little better understood by his parents and his schoolteachers. But when he first hears a rhythmic beat, his life changes.

To say a one-man show hinges on its actor is not exactly a trade secret and here capturing child like delight is not what makes this particular show work. Rather what counts in Beat is for its player to convey that insight, the delight that comes from the epiphany of knowing what makes you tick, what will forever determine why you move to beat of your own, different drum – pun not necessarily intended. In pursuit of that Daniel Bellus is simply superb. 

As far out in the darker hues of the autistic spectrum as his character may be, Bellus beautifully sustains that child like wonder of his discovery across the 70 minute show, through confrontations with George (his father) to confusions of his first kisses with a girl to the wonders of drum kits, old and new.

With memories of Whiplash returning and echoes of the fantasies of Rocket Man playing, this show is a delight as another up-lifting voyage of youthful discovery – maybe a tad too long, maybe with a problematic ending – but these are small gripes up against a classy performance and story.

Kryztoff Rating. 4K

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