Every now and then, you see a piece of theatre that just floors you with its beauty. Buzz is one of those shows, inspired by the novel ‘Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion’ by Norwegian author Johan Harstad. From the very beginning, the candid atmosphere that is to be sustained throughout the play is established. The stage is void of any set other than a tree stump at the front and a group of instruments at the back right corner; a black and white film of lunar rock plays on the stage’s backdrop; rain pours from the ceiling.
The story follows a young person named Matthias, whose life is at once endearingly heartbreaking and bitterly beautiful. From the tale of their stand-out performance at a high school fancy dress party, to the tragic loss of the love of their life, by the end you can’t help but have fallen in love with her character. Charlotte Vandermeersch embodies Matthias (and, in fact, all of the other characters in the play) perfectly. Her performance is simple and understated, yet utterly captivating. All this is underscored perfectly by an incredibly eclectic selection of live music, created and performed by Keren Willems.
Throughout the production we, as an audience, sympathise with Matthias, who always appears to be second best. Catharsis is served through ongoing reference to the life of Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, with whom Matthias is enamoured: “it takes bravery and strength to be number one, but a huge heart to be number two”. It is this attitude that makes Matthias so loveable. This play serves as a beautiful reminder of what actually matters in life and gently intimates that it is not at all important to always be on top, as long as your heart is in the right place.
What Vandermeersch has created in ‘Buzz’ is truly special. If you are looking for something simple yet beautiful to start your day at Fringe, I could not recommend this play more. I will certainly not forget the time I met Matthias in a hurry.