BLOG Amy Aed

NWR Issue r36

A Marxist in Heaven

Queueing in the line for the Arts Centre Studio on 6 March, we were surrounded by excitable energy, as theatre lovers from all over Aberystwyth turned up to watch A Marxist in Heaven. The atmosphere was jubilant and as we walked through to the theatre to sit in our seats, we were greeted with a pink illuminated stage, pseudo-Roman columns, and a very glitzy disco ball. It was time for the show to begin.

A Marxist in Heaven was written by Hattie Naylor - a very talented playwright whose credits include As the Crow Flies (2017), The Night Watch (2016), Going Dark with Sound & Fury (2014) and Bluebeard (2013). I have admired her work for several years; her skill and creativity always shine through her flawlessly written scripts and captivating plots. This particular show was about a young Marxist who goes to Heaven (also known as “the Peak”) with alternate ideas about how to run things up there - with the goal to educate the audience on darker matters such as human trafficking and child labour in an approachable way.

When the lights first came on in the room, it took me a second to realise that the actors were actually children, and not just very small people. As they were all members of the National Youth Theatre, it was a promising performance from enthusiastic and talented young actors. I definitely would have liked to see more of the background actors in bigger roles, as their enthusiasm and confidence showed through - acting with such eagerness and blatant love for the arts that it would be great to see them progress further.

The concept of the show is interesting and unlike anything I had ever seen before, delicately balancing difficult issues with segments of comedy. Several of the scenes revolve - quite literally - around the disco ball in the room, with the cast suddenly erupting into dance. These intermittent dance scenes make the whole show very cheesy and light-hearted, offering a relatively family-friendly show which leaves you grinning to yourself.

As someone who has worked on theatre sets in the past, I could really appreciate how minimalistic and yet diverse their own set was - they were able to showcase different settings by altering the smallest aspects of the set, entirely changing the scene’s ‘location.’ As the piece begins with the protagonist sat in an office, which changed to her giving a speech in ‘the Peak,’ and ultimately ended with a scene in the angels’ office, we are shown the diversity of such a simplistic set.

Overall, A Marxist in Heaven is an interesting and brilliant show composed by up-and-coming British individuals, showcasing insurmountable talent in the vessel of very small actors and a very big concept - the truth about the afterlife, and the injustices we are so keen to ignore back on Earth. The premise of the show was thoroughly intriguing, and the plot develops into a deeper metaphor for darker ideas and undertones. The plot constantly keeps you on your feet as it evolves in all directions, and the ending is sure to leave you with something to think about.

Amy Aed is one of this season’s Digital Cultural Correspondent in a new partnership with Aberystwyth University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.


previous blog: The Porthcawl Celtic Festival
next blog: Hidden, Series 2


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