REVIEW: Avalanche by Bloom Theatre

Brian Butler January 24, 2021

Bloom Theatre is a relatively new theatre company that seeks out “ weird and wonderful people “ and is dedicated to giving a platform to these voices – especially within the LGBTQ+ community.

Its  latest offering – the 40-minute solo performance Avalanche by Simon Fraser with Jack Albert Cook – ticks both boxes of the weird and the wonderful.

Alex, grippingly played in a highly nuanced performance by Sonny Poon Tip – is a young professional skier obsessed with winning , with perfection and total self-control. Alistair Wilkinson’s taut direction has close-ups, panning shots and a wide variety of camera angles in a claustrophobic minimalist setting.

The small bed with its thin pillow and the bare walls give an air of a prison cell , only relieved in its starkness by  projections of the snowy mountains which are presumably outside.

Ski-ing it seems is all of Alex’s life – no time for friends or relationships, apart from his loving hero-worship for lifelong skiiing partner Jacob.

So is this an unrequited love story ? No , like a giant slalom, it veers here and there , always keeping its central theme elusive.

At the heart of the story is a truly earth-shattering  personal event – some sort of drunken sexual encounter with a male stranger , where Alex’s world of self-control is shattered.

We’re never fully told what happened at the end of a rare night’s drinking for this dedicated sportsman. But it’s enough to turn his fragile , obsessive world upside down as if he were the tumbling victim of an avalanche .

And the writers , actor and director never let we the audience assume control either – tempting as we find it to try and explain away what we’re seeing, ultimately we can’t.

In a lockdown time of mental anguish for many, this small play opens the windows to a sense of loss, longing and isolation that is disturbing but beautiful to behold.

Avalanche is available on demand to stream until 7 February –

More info or book here