Edinburgh Fringe 2013
We watch it, hear it, read it, stream it, download it. We’re plugged in and wired up day and night. But is all this news good for us? Hailing from Reykjavik, Iceland, VaVaVoom takes its audience into an inventive and original world of puppets, pop-up sets, live soundscapes and evocative video landscapes in this exploration of what the world of news is doing for us, and to us.
Perplexing, all this news. We’re surrounded by it. Can’t get away from it. There’s altogether too much of it. At least, that’s the premise of this devised theatre piece from VaVaVoom in collaboration with the National Theatre of Iceland.
We are bombarded with information, printed, audio and visual. It starts from the moment we wake and draw open the blinds that keep the world at bay. Two puppeteers operate a red dressing gown going through the motions of breakfast and dealing with the conflicting sources of information, one delivered by a “paper boy”, the others through an impressive, overlapping soundscape designed to assault our ears and senses.
As the time comes to venture out into the news jungle, our adult sized dressing gown puppet cleverly morphs into a finger sized version which is seen gambolling through newscapes and a series of exquisitely designed pop-up models, one based on the New York skyline, one on a typical suburban scene, another deep in the countryside. Someone, somewhere, has clearly spent a lot of time putting this together and watching the models come to life plus the impressive audio-visual display that complements this movement is as entertaining as the puppetry itself. And then it’s home again to bed, and more news, before the lights go out the moment that the media itself shuts down.
The message is clear enough – we’re addicted to news and can’t function without it and yet too much news and information can be as bad (or worse) than a news vacuum. But that’s it. No solutions are offered, no alternative view. Not that this materially detracts from a quaint, inventive and thoroughly entertaining piece. The soundscape from Soley Stefansdottir, involving a combination of live music and fused, recorded sound, is worth listening to on its own and due credit must be given to a pair of expert puppeteers in Sunna Reynisdottir and Irena Stratieva.
Thought provoking stuff – perplexing even. And recommended material for the young and old.