It takes a little less than ten minutes of Theatre Ad Infinitum’s remarkableTranslunar Paradise, a show that is about death and then process of moving forward, to be assured that its creator, George Mann, has developed an intimate understanding of the rhythms of grieving. The programme provides background but you do not need it to know that this devised work was forged in the pain of experience. It captures, and expresses with sublime beauty, a simple truth that is missed time and time again in lesser works: that the true tragedy of death lies not in the moment of loss but in the moment of realisation that life continues relentlessly onwards.
A bravura opening sequence sees two masked performers enact the final moments of a long-lasting relationship. We watch actions that have been repeated so often it is as if they have been instilled in the muscle memory of the characters; a pat on the elbow, an offer to carry the suitcase, a crossword clue. These little touches are what remains after a loss and offer a gateway to the past, where the man can relive the key moments in his life and create a way of holding on to what has been lost. In some ways similar to Pixar-film Up, Translunar Paradise begins in tragedy and then expands the scope to explore how this impacts on the surviving partner.