Skip to main content

Hidden Door - Philip Jeck and Rebecca Sharp - Rules of the Moon

Leith Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars

"How does it end?" are the first and last words spoken by playwright and poet Rebecca Sharp in this spectral collaboration with composer Philip Jeck, that fuses storytelling and projections with Jeck's electronically generated soundscape. The pair's contribution to this year's Hidden Door festival charts the fantastical flight of Mary Christie, a young Girl in a red jumper who runs away from a fire and goes deep into the darkness, both of the city and her own psyche.

It begins with the seeming innocence of a music box melody and projections of what turns out to be a 60 watt bulb. As Sharp's live words are punctuated and overlaid with recordings of her voice, her initially fractured poetry is given a more linear narrative pulse as we follow Mary into the night. Along the way, there are stolen cars, cracked electronics and images of a luminous blue night sky that lend an eerie urgency to an increasingly dream-like after-dark yarn.

Initially inspired by a real-life childhood memory, what drives Sharp's young protagonist on the run appears to come from the skies, as she keeps on moving. This contrasts with the stillness of the performance, with Jeck seated behind a laptop at the side of the stage and Sharp stepping to the microphone sporting a red jumper of her own as she reads. While the piece itself would work equally well on the page, on record or in the cinema, seeing and hearing all this in Leith Theatre's main auditorium gives proceedings an even darker atmosphere. As for Mary Christie, she continues to move like quicksilver whatever, still chasing the fire within.

The Herald, May 31st 2017

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …