Breakfast came second on the Incoming double bill. I knew nothing about show going in; picking up a freesheet afterwards, I learnt it was inspired by the poetry of Jacques Prévert and Buster Keaton’s films. I’m ignorant when it comes to these things, but even without this context, Breakfast is a stunner.
Having seen relatively few movement pieces, I have one thing to compare this to: it puts me in mind of Lost Dog’s Juliet and Romeo, without the bitterness. Without speech, Wilson & Hart’s physical theatre is seemingly abstract at first, with a moment recreating the titular poem by Prévert, but as it progresses, a story rises out of it of unrequited love, intimacy, and the breakdown of a relationship. It does not need to be any more complicated than that.
The audience is dead silent, and often the production is too, though scored live by Ben Murray, a folk musician and veteran of the National Theatre’s War Horse. Such great attention is paid to the everyday movements we all make that the very simplicity delights. It’s transfixing to see Marah Stafford’s repeated, pointy choreography with her book, making the turning of a page a dance and smelling the pages – we get the same keen pleasure merely from watching as she seems to receive from doing the actions. Nicholas Hart’s character has the same clarity to his movements as he fools around, tries to get close to her and fails, or psyches himself up in the mirror, preening.
When they finally move together to Murray’s soft guitar music, although the positions they strike could remind you of sex, they don’t: in their slow reaching for each other and across the space, over and under, it looks like the shapes made with a partner in sleep, like making a home out of and with each other’s bodies. It’s so powerful that it makes you miss touching and being touched, for that minute. I am the furthest from fit it’s possible to be, but watching the beauty of the impressive movements in Breakfast makes me want to follow suit.
Coming out afterwards feels somehow dreamy, as for one hour everything is so solemn yet so playful. I have no idea what kind of a representation of Prévert’s work Breakfast is, but I don’t think that matters.
Breakfast was performed as part of Incoming Festival, which runs until 4 July at the New Diorama. Click here for more details.