Edinburgh Fringe 2016
Creative visual play exploring life, death and loss through choreography and physical theatre. There’s some humour, too, in this poignant and well acted piece.
Ghosts, a piñata and a velvet panto horse with issues! All of these things (and many more) are part of the visual and physical storytelling in this play about life, death and loss. Two Irish companies -Brokentalkers and Junk Ensemble – have collaborated on It Folds, to combine the former’s theatricality and the latter’s choreography in an original exploration of death and grief. The result is a poignant expressionistic piece that deals with a difficult topic in a creative way. For example, there is humour in ringing the church bells, when an altar boy/ghost gives a post Mass analysis, and then there is darkness in the power struggles and grief of a dysfunctional functioning family.
The four or five actors who play the main roles including the family members throughout the play are strong and sincere in their characterizations with clear relationships to one another. About eight more performers join the actors for several large ensemble scenes – including a beautiful choir song. Mainly silent, with a few short dialogue interactions, the cast use their physicality and distinctive choreography to show emotions and scenes of moments in life that happen and are difficult to talk about. For example, circus style choreographed scenes are metaphors for power such as the two ends of the panto horse that don’t see eye to eye, and the athletic acrobatic balance movement explores the relationship of the father and son.
The dynamics of the flow of the show via the director embraces not only a playful energy, but also several moments of stillness, which are very powerful, allowing the viewer to engage in the scene and perhaps, anticipate the next. The individual performances are also sensitive, quality and not over sentimental.
It Folds is supported by a superb music score throughout the show, which creates a fluid filmic quality as abstract scenes unfold. The music ranges from eerie, melodic, and pensive to restrained circus. Costumes for the family characters are nostalgic in colour and style, which add a touch of reality and timelessness without the constraints of a specific decade. The themes of the play are universal and not new, after all. This show is a quirky and moving take on how people deal with loss explored through symbolic movement .