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Edinburgh Fringe 2010


Riffifi Theatre

Genre: Drama

Venue: Zoo Roxy


Low Down

‘I suppose you don’t realise what you’re doing’ remarks one character of Lulu, the lead character in this take on the classic story familiar to many from the Louise Brooks silent film. And it’s true; the girl at the centre of this piece who changes partners about as often as she changes her name is truly an Eve of destruction, absolving herself of all responsibility simply because no-one will allow her to have any; crediting her with all the power of a sex object while reducing her to the status of a little girl.


This is a sensually evoked pleasure garden, a circus of desire: a transfer to the The Famous Spiegeltent would seem logical. All the performances are large and stylised, and in most cases this is entirely appropriate: we’re transported to the Berlin at the turn of the (last) century. Not that there’s not room for cheeky humour:  ‘Haven’t you grown’, gasps Pandora/Lulu/Eve as she hugs a potential new suitor tightly to her. ‘I’ve been thinking of you,’ he responds without missing a beat.

Sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate between the sublime and the ridiculous, since even allowing for the large, circus-style performances, some are clearly more at ease that others in their acting skills. And it’s a piece that is begging to be exploited in all kinds of other ways: this reviewer was looking up for any suggestion of aerial ropes hanging from the ceiling, but it was not to be.   
Lulu is judged as a woman who rattles through lovers, but she’s actually thrown from one to the next without any say in the matter. No-one will allow her to intervene in her own life, which becomes a waking nightmare. This is a heady, intoxicating dream, in which we’re transported to a bygone, melodramatic era, the fevered imaginings of Todd Browning after too much cheese. This is a play of death and ‘little deaths’, and is a circus of beautiful grotesques.


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