Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Villa Design Group: The House of Adelaida Ivanovna - Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh

August 1st-31st.
Performances Thursday to Saturday at 7pm.
Three stars
The vast top-floor warehouse space of Ocean Terminal's Logan's Run
style shopping mall is a gloriously incongruous venue for the
Hamburg/London-based Villa Design Group to house its epic reimagining
of Gogol's play, The Gamblers. While the array of clean-lined screens
and curious cabinets flanking the large stage that simulates Yves Saint
Laurent's faux Russian dacha remain in situ throughout the day, this
third part of Than Hussein Clark, James Connick and William Joys'
Gogol-inspired dissection of architecture and morality blossoms into
full dramatic life for a two-hour performance of the play in the
evening.

Here Laura Schuller's Adelaida holds court to a crooked conference of
interior designers brought together to discuss the building of a new
library to house Gogol's archive. As she bursts through a wooden
construction that is part state-of-art coffin, part dressing-up box,
her connivances are partly hidden from view, requiring the audience to
follow the action around the set as a movie camera might pan its way to
its conclusion.

Visually-led post-modern European theatre of this scale is nothing new
in Edinburgh in August. Seen in a visual art context with a
big-windowed view of Edinburgh's own architectural reinventions,
however, it becomes a chicly audacious statement on form, function and
how a space's narrative can be shaped.


The List, August 2014


ends

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