Brighton Fringe 2010
Spun Glass Theatre
Venue: Laughing Horse at The Temple
Laura is a piece of film and theatre, affecting and well crafted, part of Laughing Horse’s free theatre and comedy, a show that is Edinburgh bound. Produced by Spun Glass.
Part of Laughing Horse’s welcome free theatre and comedy, The Temple plays host to a very interesting and well acted piece of theatre from Spun Glass. "Laura" is played by Marie Rabe opposite "Jim", played by Elliot Quinn in this two-handed, directed by Jessica Cheetham.
Film is woven into the live performance as we meet Laura, shy, reclusive, introverted, creator of a collection of film clips, eavesdropper on the lives of others. Jim, a close connection from her school childhood who steps suddenly back into her life. Sometimes the play feels a little too stylised, for example when the two dance; it feels too staged, trying too hard to create an emotional landscape; when this production tries less overtly hard, it actually achieves more in terms of mood and depth. In fact it has moments of electricity, especially via the wonderful intensity and sill nerviness of Laura herself.
Paper butterflies fall from a window, the piece carries an emotional authority from the very start. Typewriters, insistent phones with real mechanical bells, the unfolding story has a lovely unhurried quality, an easy naturalistic style that blends well with the more ethereal aspects of the music and film. This is a piece that is brave enough to dare stillness and simple minimal reaction.
Jim steps through the door. Laura is there. It’s a strong, affecting central performance from Marie Rabe as a woman, carrying the weight of shyness from childhood, inhabiting a world in which "we are equally disappointed." Elliot Quinn acts with intensity as Jim. Quinn needs to step even more into the natural skin of Jim and "act" a bit less. Rabe is so natural it almost feels as if the two styles don’t quite yet fit together – one more theatrical than the other. This is what needs resolving to take this production to the next level. Consistency is the missing ingredient dramatically.
This Edinburgh-bound show has many virtues, not least the central performance of Marie Rabe, ably supported by Elliot Quinn. It’s unevenness needs work; the missing pieces of the story serve to create a compelling narrative; we’re given clues and only some essentials.
This beautiful piece portrays what, in a whole life time, is a passing moment, a point where a road becomes a choice of two, and then one way. I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to it’s further development as it steps towards Edinburgh, where I warmly recommend you see it.