Symbiont is a semi auto-biographical one person performance that explores a topic which isn’t usually spoken about enough in society – Death.

Symbiont digs deep both personally and scientifically. The writing brings a metaphorical rawness and is relatable to anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one. What does the title Symbiont mean? It will be questioned and bluntly forthcoming. 

Somewhere between limbo and here, the dressed stage lies, there are hanging white sheets which invoke an imaginative hypothesis of what is known about the lifetime of our character, and a void-less entity possessing the narrator both in physical and closed-captioned credits rolling down a screen for us.

It’s the unknown but that is all we have in common. 

The theme of this award-winning Caged Bird production, written by Patrick Swain, is a person’s real-life trauma rehashed, which is certain to strike a chord with many. Many descriptions and visualisations feel intensely relatable and understandable. This is a play that reminds you that you are not alone, as many people have experienced the same things – which is an incredibly important message.

Through a combination of words and chaotic dancing the story is told about a ‘vanilla ice cream’ family that go through a journey of grief together. Showing how grief can simultaneously bring people closer together, yet is also a force which may distance them. Symbiont shows how grief can change one’s persona, and also make it difficult for a person to see a way through the suffering and hardship of the present.  

Although the writing itself is well articulated, with the language of science intertwined with genuine feelings which are experienced within the subject of death. The storyline was at times difficult to follow, due to a lack of clear structure and pace changes. 

Ellie Gallimore portrays this story with authenticity and ease. She addresses the audience personally and kept us entranced by her characterisation throughout. Her eye contact and witty banter connected us with the humour this play possesses. Gallimore’s performance reminded us of a kooky science teacher who is too smart for their own good! 

There were times where the blocking and lighting appeared to be preventing the audience from keeping up with the narrative. To the extent that a Mexican wave with the audience was added in, which I questioned the need for.

Overall, Symbiont provides a relatable story and is incredibly honest. It highlights a need for more productions that provide authenticity and honesty in their work. However, some improvements are necessary within the technical elements to provide the production with improved fluidity, and for emotions to be fully realised.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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