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 Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…