Edinburgh Fringe 2016
There are a number of couples who, using the beauty of poetry and the distinctive Elizabethan voice of Shakespeare expose their emotions in a physical theatre piece that is descriptive, slightly prescriptive and repetitive at times but very bright and beautiful. We see the soldiers going off to war and the dance of their leaving is then replaced with the battle and their sacrifice. The number that do not return are lit for us as we also get to see the unspoken love between the men in their trenches.
We begin with the characters onstage and the first thing to note is that it needed a snap and not a fade but with these lights, snaps aint happening. It’s choral at first before distinctive couples emerge from the 8 actors. The rhyme tends to be spoken and is then followed by the physical actions and dance that take us onto the next sonnet. As we see them leave, then fight we watch the women, weep and hope. At the end some return, others don’t but all are affected as we are by their journeys.
This was a young company who show an apt use of one period of our history – Elizabeth’s – to illuminate another – the Great War. It was a very bright idea and they execute it well. There are a number of issues however, that are more than just niggles but less than concerns.
We have poetry spoken and movement thereafter too often. This is a company who you feel could have worked to integrate both and shortened their piece and become far more effective within it. Their projection as good though, at times I felt it was a little leaden and needed more passion and less technique – as it would have come from having the movement integrated within it. It sounded beautifully spoken but like a poetry recital rather than exploiting to the full the addition of theatricality that should raise it to a new level of comprehension.
Technically this was very well presented but the aforementioned lighting issue was one I felt throughout. It needed snappier and more dramatic theatre arts. The movement, particularly when they were fighting was wonderfully done and choreographed. I also loved the first duo piece where the putting on of a jacket was signifying leaving. There was more in there to be developed and again as a young company you felt they had pushed themselves but a little bit further was there to be travelled. I really enjoyed it and the young person I brought with me did too. He did think there were aspects of it which were repetitive and I would have to agree that, at times we go a winning combination, followed by a similar pattern.
Overall this was a performance piece that was a joy to watch. If you only pick one piece of physical theatre this Fringe, this aint a bad pick. It shows the performers are very able to interpret the works of Shakespeare and give us new insight; the concept was well considered and tolerably well executed – I just would have pushed it further.