Beat contains masterful acting, exquisite drumming by its performer and invites everyone to accept that some people understand the world differently.
In SiT Productions’ Beat, young Alfie (Daniel Bellus) does not care what he drums on – because the beautiful thing about drumming is that anything, anywhere, can be your apparatus. As a young boy, he first finds objects around his house, before later getting a drum kit of his own to play – with which he starts a band. Or that is how he tells his story; an optimistic presentation of a less comfortable reality.
In truth, Alfie lives in a family with an abusive father George, and is bullied by other children in his school (where he constantly stays behind, due to teachers not understanding how his mind works). Friendless until approached by a girl from his class, his only true companion is music. But none of this seems to bother him – his approach, that is his reasoning of the events happening around him and society treating him poorly, is at the same time heart-warming and heart-breaking – with the dark humour surely intended by the writer Cedric Chapuis and director by Stephane Batlle but not the character himself.
Beat is an insight into a mind different than most, done in the most engaging way. It is told through the eyes of the main character and no one else appears on stage to take away from Alfie’s chance of narrating his version of events to the world. The only other onstage presence is the drumkit, which in many instances is Alfie’s only friend – and this brings out both the importance of the bond that Alfie has with music, and the loneliness outside that relationship, should it ever be taken away.
What is most wonderful about Beat, outside the masterful acting and drum-playing by Bellus, is its invitation to see that there are different people in the world, and, moreover, people that understand it differently. It is us who should try to understand that.