Skip to main content

Edinburgh Fringe Reviews 2011 - Free Run / Audience

Free Run
Udderbelly
3 stars
Audience
St Georges West
4 stars
It was inevitable that the phenomena of inner city free running be
turned into a stage show. Like the metal-bashing extravagances of Stomp
and other spectacles dragged off the street before it, trying to make
sense of such a blink and you'll miss it trend from the safety of a
front row seat is a hit and miss affair.

As performed by the members of the 3Run crew, an eight-strong ensemble
of musclebound twenty-somethings who can't help look like a boy band,
Free Run attempts to capture the back-flipping energy of leaping tall
buildings with a few bits of gym equipment and a lot of attitude. This
isn't always easy, despite the high-energy expertise of a troupe whose
only concession to girliness is a young woman expert in martial arts.

As each in turn flings themselves across metal bars and assorted
obstacles that never quite capture the bricks and mortar on the images
that flash onscreen behind them, a narrative of sorts is introduced by
way of a futuristic-looking chase scene. While this ups the dramatic
tension, there's not enough cohesion throughout its undoubtedly
impressive set of physical jerks to sustain a full show.

Strip away the techno soundtrack and the trappings of street culture
that are never quite carried through, and what you're left with is the
sort of old-fashioned circus acrobatics that have been keeping less
active audiences on their toes for centuries. While the energy being
extended here is genuine, there's little sense of danger beyond a show
that needs more dramatic muscle to get to the next level.

Belgium company Ontroerend Goed pre-dated the current wave for
interactive theatre two years ago with their one-on-one exploration of
the dating game, Internal. The company's latest piece, Audience, may
reach for the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of scale, but on
the level of social engineering remains similarly provocative.

Things open chummily enough, with actress Maria Dafneros explaining the
ground rules of the performance/audience contract before breaking
every one of them. Alonfside her three colleagues she bears witness to
a live video feed from an onstage camera-man that focuses on every
self-conscious gesture of those seated prior to a fashion show style
inventory of the room's demographic. This is all so much soft soap,
however, for the faux aggressive attempt to take things even further.

It's a wilfully discomforting tightrope that Alexander Devriendt's
production walks, and if actor Matthieu Sys had picked on someone less
sure of themselves, it could have made for a very different night. Even
so, the company make explicit how easy it is to manipulate en masse,
and if the relationship between football match, stadium rock concert
and fascist rally wasn't clear before, it will be afterwards.

Of course there are safety nets built into the delivery, and in truth
Ontroerend Goed aren't doing anything that Tim Crouch wasn't exploring
in 2010 with his similarly styled The Audience, or indeed that Austrian
playwright Peter Handke did with his self-explanatory solo, Offending
The Audience, in 1971. Yet there's still something unsettling here,
even if it's just the fact that, as we're told from the start, we go
along with everything we're offered, right down to the final applause.

The Herald, August 11 2011

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…