Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Man and woman leave their house. They are helped by an array of characters – brother, sister, best friend etc who moved them in two years ago. You are then taken physically and emotionally back to when they moved in. Through dance, physical theatre and a narrative that has more tricks than Derren Brown in a seaside special we are brought into the lives of these people before the end.
Man and woman, David and Julia are moving out. A motley crew arrive to help. They are organised in t shirts telling you who they are and it may sound like the worst kind of student costume but it kinda helps in a theatrical way. What follows is a drama that allows the gay brother to break up, seek solace, the other couples in their drama expose their frailties and insecurities and bring us an ending that I didn’t see coming. I had every cliché ready in my big book of clichés to explain how they finished and with sheer simplicity they took my cliché book off me – why thank you!
Simply put. Go find a five pound note, look down the sofa, raid the piggy bank – I don’t care how you do it – get it and go see this. If there is nothing in your life later on fill it with this. Worth it? This is beyond that. Stunningly inventive at times it tells a story that meanders within a framework and comes out the other end as a tear streamed tragedy but told with such wonderful gusto.
What is so impressive is that whilst it may be physical theatre it does not shy away from the narrative. The dialogue is as crisp as the dance moves. The direction is mainly spot on. Personally the only time that I did not like it was when they were all in a line in front of me. Considering the big duvet scene, the scene change that came with it, how they handled the moving in as a group with the boxes and the dance sequence with the brother as well as getting the guy in the audience to nearly be his date this appeared lazy. It is a minor gripe.
Performances were strong and identifiable with nobody stealing a limelight but all sharing in the spotlight. I was just filled with joy during it and rushed to text and tweet my delight. Physical theatre could do a lot worse than analyse how this show came about and take the template to each drama course in the country with TADA! THIS is how you do it! Set in an excellent venue that is really attempting to triumph new writing – with hits and misses – the spirit of the Fringe is safely out of the bubble wrap and idiosyncratically working overtime to grab your attention. PAY ATTENTION. This is where it is at and the Better Half is one you shouldn’t miss.
The numbers in the audience were small and IF you believe in the Fringe then THIS is what you should be nipping in to see. It finishes on the 11th so you have a limited chance. It also confirms to me one wee theory – always as the people front of house – selling the sweets – to recommend shows – they DO know what they are talking about!