Edinburgh Fringe 2013
This energetically paced show explores captivating issues of inner and outer identity and congruence – what is madness anyway? – using physical theatre, mime, music and clown like caricatures. We see some social commentary and some overt digs at leering men. We see the central character heading towards an inevitable crash…the pace quickens…the intensity escalates and we see the change from in control power career woman to gradually unravelling wild woman. This was well-travelled, with utter commitment from the whole cast. Our heroine was surrounded by mad and neurotic people but her madness’s were less acceptable even though she was more conscious of them…we see her resist and then finally surrender in pure peaceful abandonment.
The attention to the character work was admirable, all 4 actresses held their roles and their attention throughout…when they were part of the physical structure of the scene their faces were utterly focused and expressive in line with the narrative. The use and manipulation of props as theatrical devices though not unique, was often mesmerising and cleverly imagined.
This was a tightly choreographed mainly slick performance, well thought out and expertly delivered with music, lighting and sound effects all adding to accentuate the quality. Characters were at times deliciously comic and well-rounded but could have done with some of their scenes shortened and some of the dialogue more refined. The script was at times fairly simplistic and didn’t come up the quality of the performance although the narrative and repetition of key elements was well considered.
The comical scenes of the boss were played with utter physical clowning brilliance, but could have been snappier and more clearly spoken. Matt needed more development as a character but the geeky office colleague was spot on and the awkward scene between them was toe curlingly funny. Other supporting characters needed more work, the secretary was very good. What would have made this outstanding overall would be the dialogue. Some sections were a little too long…the context of speaking on Spanish at times was a bit mystifying to the central characters although started to make sense as she unravelled, and sometimes words became lost in the delivery.
It would have been useful to have had more of a context to the central character – more of a linking back story in order to emphasise with her…I would have liked to have seen more in the relationship with her Dad…again the cultural element wasn’t explained here as he was overtly English. This was however a strongly constructed, complex and visual physical performance, and it is for this aspect that it is highly recommended.