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Infinity Pool review at Bedlam Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘unique and exceptional’

Bea Roberts in Infinity Pool

Inspired by a mere beeswax smudge of Madame Bovary, Infinity Pool is as surprising in form as it is satisfying in content.

The latest play by And Then Came the Nightjars author Bea Roberts, it tells the story of lonely, yearning Emma with barely a word spoken, and with Roberts scarcely visible onstage as she manipulates laptops, projectors and a handful of props. The story is instead conveyed through a collage of slides, photographs, Facebook posts and conversations delivered via word-art subtitles.

Sustained brilliantly throughout the hour, characters quickly emerge from text messages and snatches of conversation, deepening as the narrative unfolds. This Emma works as an admin assistant at a plumbing supply firm, and flirts with the possibility of an affair with unseen plumber Kick.

It’s a romantic, quietly tragic story, with Emma coming to life as vividly as any performed character. Its form gives it a literary, almost textual quality, that’s a better match for Flaubert’s prose (not a word of which is spoken here) than any more conventional adaptation could hope to achieve.

Utterly unique and exceptional in every way, it’s a heart-breaking story of a stunted life, told with theatrical verve and palpable compassion.

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An utterly unique, collage-like retelling of Madame Bovary in which barely a word is spoken