“A show about loss based on a true story so close to us.”
Winner of the Total Theatre Award 2014 and the Pulse Suitcase Prize 2013, Near Gone is a stunning piece of contemporary theatre. Devised and performed by Katherina Radeva and Alister Lownie. The hour long, jarring spectacle combines strong elements of art and movement, often pertinent in performances from Two Destination Language: the CIO created in 2011 led by Radeva and Lownie.
It is achingly understated – a simply lit stage. A grounded man and an emotive woman, surrounded by pretty white flowers. Delivered in Bulgarian and English, Near Gone is however an enormously powerful performance rife with contrasts. The tantalisingly still opening and sombre overarching mood clash magnificently with the flamboyant intensity of Radeva and Lownie’s gestures and dance sequences. Making the audience cling to the edge of their seat. Riding the continuous yet abrupt waves of intensity and humour.
Like many others, I came away with the feeling that I had just witnessed still, perfect vignette. Full of suspense, comedy and zest for life. While the talented duo pride themselves on using “humour as a narrative driver”, the haunting repetition of one of the pivotal lines in the show – “my sister was four years old” – will remain with me for a long time. I found myself clinging with baited breath onto every word from Radeva and Lownie. To uncover the truth of this painful “moment of the unknown” they explore together. Despite the fact that half of it was in Radeva’s native Bulgarian.
The piece’s surrounding questions about the fleeting fragility of human existence were made only more striking and memorable. This was due to the charisma and amicability of the two stunning performers. And the sheer uniqueness of the moment and atmosphere that they create. Reflecting upon this night, it only seems apparent that the recipe for transcending language and getting to the soul of humanity via grievance and loss, is a seemingly odd duo of characters and 400 flowers (fresh).
Following Near Gone, their new performance following up Declining Solo is being shown from April starting at Folkstone. And their outdoor festival piece LANDED will also debut this summer.