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Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Piatto Finale and Centralia

Superbolt Theatre

Genre: Physical Theatre




Low Down

 An underground coal fire causes the evacuation of a small town in Centralia, Pebbsylvania – and these are the three remaining inhabitants….who’ve come to Edinburgh to tell their story.- in an eccentric and humourous way.  Mayhem. murder, death and detection: a theatrical gem in which an arrow finds its target!


Although these two plays are quite different in content,  Centralia being a story with a beginning a middle and an end, and Piatto Finale a story with a threadbare and confusing but hysterically funny plot, they have two things very much in common:   both are wild and reckless comedies and both performed by the same three over-the-top talented products of the Jacques Lecoq International Theatre School.  There is no single director, but they have a shared vision – the key to their theatre can be summed up, perhaps, as the ‘theatre of laughter’.

There is of course and strong association with mime, as one would expect, and a distinct leaning towards absurdity:   also both the plays are very good fun: and both evenings exude good humour and good nature.

Centralia records a small town in the USA of that name which had a problem with an underground coal fire and all who are left after death and evacuation are the three jokers we see on stage.   The first of the three characters (Frode Gjerlow from Norway), in a plainly false moustache that fails to conceal his naievety, introduces himself to us and shares with us his simple desire to be in a rock band.   We get a taste on his musical and rhythmic dreams in which all participate and get their laughs Maria Askew opening her eyes so wide I’m surprised her eyeballs don’t fall out, and Simon Maeder ( from York a founder member of the Belt Up Theatre Company) is 22 years old and owns a shop: there his imagination fries up!   I think it did well selling gas masks – but I may be making that up. In Piatto Finale, the sister production, Maeder  is unfortunate enough to be shot dead with an arrow which comes as much as a surprise to him as to us, and is the gem of a moment I shall treasure:  it was so unfair and completely undeserved!   I loved it!   He then went on to suffer another three or four deaths by other means rivalling  Sir Donald Wolfit who so delightfully milked his death scene in Gabriel Borkman.  ( Have the other two got it in for him I wonder?) .   He has a great line in dry humour and all three know how to use their body language to score popints.

Piatto Finale and Centralia  are pure theatricality and in Piatto a mini structure centre stage supports little curtains from behind which the zany humour of the three spills into our laps.   It’s  brilliant stuff but , like an over decorated trifle, perhaps has too many glace cherries on it.  It  attempts a plot ( a detective tale in search of an Operatic Finale), but the style rather than the journey is what appeals  – comic moments  strung together , as it were, in a threadbare  pattern:    it would be marginally more satisfying as a ‘piece’ if  its high-jinks were more focused.  But really that is splitting hairs: Superbolt Theatre are on to a very good thing:   watch this space:   they’re very clever And great fun.