Breach’s debut fringe show is both formally ambitious and explicitly political – an engaged, potent piece of theatremaking by a young company with a strong creative identity.
Mixing film and performance, this group of recent graduates of the University of Warwick sets out to re-enact the event which has come to be known as ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’, a violent clash between the police and a group of travellers on the way to the summer solstice festival at Stonehenge in 1985.
They interview a number of people who were there on the day, including the journalist Nick Davies, one of the travellers and a former policeman. They also film themselves as they get into costume and rehearse. These filmed segments are interspersed with an often very funny account of their own attendance at the solstice this June.
The very act of re-enactment raises questions about ownership and narrative but there’s a sense that they’ve interrogated this from every angle. The Beanfield ends up being genuinely unsettling in the way that it evokes the sense of pain and powerlessness felt by those who lived through it – and there’s a sense of real anger underscoring everything about the way such abuses still take place, even on their own campus.