Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Fascinating solo show by Gavin Robertson exploring modern day parallels to the themes of the famous story of Crusoe. Told from the point of view of several characters including one with Alzheimer’s and another in middle-age starting again. Are we isolated – or are we our own islands?
Crusoe, the solitary figure lost on a remote island is alone…this play explores the idea of being alone, the Big Bang theory and how it all relates to today’s society. Many spend so much time on devices that it is common to see people – heads down – looking at flickering screens, solitary in cafés. Others are marginalized from relationships gone bad or other personal issues. How much does this affect us socially? What about regrets? How do we develop relationships? Is it important to us?
Gavin Robertson is the writer, designer and sole performer of this creative Crusoe exploration, well directed by Nicholas Collett. Robertson’s charismatic presence is remarkable. Standing under one of the four staggered height lights wearing a black suit, then Robertson starts speaking in a compelling voice. Here is an experienced actor and he tells and acts out a fascinating, impactful and poignant story, with only a small black box on the stage. He plays several interesting male characters by changing his voice quality and physicality and weaves them through the show. Robertson is also a gifted physical actor, adept at mime, as he tells part of the story through a series of physical action that is masterful. The movement is often abstract, but if you watch carefully there are several gestural motifs that are reinterpreted in pure movement from the play.
Each of the characters is his own island, with life issues – they are very relatable either from our own experiences or from someone we know. Time passes and we adapt and try to find solutions or make changes in our outlook. Questions about the dichotomy of humanity and science are posited, provoking us to think about how “everything came from nothing” and cause and effect theory where “there must have been a before”. While these are the big themes of life, Robertson makes an interesting case and leaves us with a moving final thought, or is it an order? In any case, we could do well to consider it.
This is an elegant and thought-provoking performance. Robertson and his articulate crafting of the piece are suave, and the original music and sound design by Danny Bright could be the most beautiful of the Fringe. The musical variety is visceral, luxe, jazzy and more. It can not help but make you feel something – and be transported.