Everything. At the beginning of ‘Before Us’ Stuart Bowden promises us everything. We will laugh, we will cry, we’ll join hands and we’ll die happy because of this show. It is a tall order, but Bowden delivers.
Performing the story of the last female of an unknown species, Bowden takes us on an emotional ride. From entering on stage onward he has the audience eating out of his palm. We can’t help but laugh at his incredibly comedic power-walks, the sleeping bag like attire he has on, matching his green socks, limiting his movements and the fact that his bearded face and huge glasses make it very hard to forget that he is male, however much he describes his female experiences. In short, he is hilarious. Furthermore, he makes it seem effortless to crack us up.
His music helps us access the darker sides of his tale of loneliness, extinction, regret and the pressures and guilt of the lone survivor. With simple technology he manages to score his entire production, often producing some tear jerking moments. The lyrics are simple but effective, giving the audience a chance to sing along and indeed carrying on singing all the way out the door.
Though often silly the writing itself touches nicely upon important issues, making the show incredibly relevant. Lastly the audience interactions are a masterclass in how to make an audience feel like an important, appreciated and integral part of the show.
Many have claimed that their shows will make you laugh, cry and ultimately change your life. ‘Before Us’ delivers. It has everything, as promised. Prepare to die happy.
Before Us runs at Underbelly Cowgate at 20.10 until the 24th.