Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Little Bulb follow up the cult successes of Crocosmia and Sporadical with a whimsical epic of religion, coming of age and… local talent contests.
Operation Greenfield begins with a chaotic reenactment of the annunciation, complete with bubble mixture. This gives a rough indicator of the genuinely eccentric and at times unclassifiable work that Little Bulb creates. For the first ten minutes I was unsure whether this was a comedy sketch show, bible story, a gig or a theatre piece, yet frankly I did not care as it was so throughly enjoyable.
After the maelstrom died down the company enacted the story of group of Christian youths from Stokely who decide to form a band in order to win a local talent contest. During the course of the show the band experiment with various identities and musical styles – providing a wonderful opportunity for the company to showcase their musical talent on an impressive range of instruments.
It would have been so easy to create pious parodies of these young people, yet part of the magic of this show was its complete lack of guile. Each member of the company gave wonderfully fluent comedic performances – down to the movement of their eyes. These characters were real and sensitively and sympathetically portrayed. Worth particular note was Shamira Turner playing Alice – with her love of maths bordering on the obsessive and a burgeoning teenage sexuality to contend with, she was a true delight.
The piece is technically raw and this at times goes beyond the self-confessedly ramshackle style of Little Bulb. Hopefully the issues of amplification and lack of microphones will be ironed out during the run. Some more attention to the blocking on this crowded stage would also serve them well.
Their lo-fi approach to props was also beguiling, with the use of cardboard masks being used to vivid effect to convey the drama of a David Bowie cover. The gentle influence of American indie films, in particular Wes Anderson appeared to have shaped the distinctive visual style of the piece, down to the kitschy squash dispenser full of ‘forest fruit’ squash.
Despite a slight loss of focus during a muddled montage sequence in the final quarter which indicated the rapid passage of time – there were abundant sparks of originality and moments when the audience were left beaming. Little Bulb are an extremely special company, destined for great success.
Operation Greenfield is the most uplifting cacophony to hit the Edinburgh fringe this year, so just see it!