Edinburgh Fringe 2017
Be transported to 1934, Dustbowl America as a fly on the wall and be mesmerized by the verbal and nonverbal communications between one man and his performing chimpanzee.
Written by Lucy Roslyn, starring Jesse Rutherford and Lucy Roslyn and directed by Jamie Firth
From the first moments of Lucy Roslyn’s new play, I felt like a fly on the wall or rather a circus tent. This intimate fascinating portrayal of a chimpanzee and her trainer is a wonderful display of acting and movement by Jesse Rutherford and the Chimpanzee played by Lucy Roslyn.
The first moments watching the movements of the Chimpanzee as she entered the stage, taking her throne on top of the wooden cage, pulled me in. This story is accentuated with the subtle and intuitive movement-work by Lucy Roslyn.
As I sat watching I could hear a muffled buzz outside the theatre while the slow wind propelled ceiling vents added a real visual aesthetic that brought me in deeper.
The Pleasance Courtyard is a perfect fit for this show as I was transported into the story with the subtle and powerful verbal and nonverbal communication, between the two actors.
The power struggle between a chimpanzee who has the strength to crush a man and the trainer who has to break the chimp psychologically was fascinating.
I cried, I laughed and most of all I was feeling for both characters. Cruelty to animals is just the way of life in the circus. The horrors experienced and actions taken by both animal and man are heartbreaking. Watching this play we see the hope and dreams of youth and how they evaporate when the dark reality is that ‘the show must go on.”
There are deep-rooted emotions in the relationship. In the beginning, there was hope but years later as violent memories are revealed between the two the only hope I had was for the chimp to somehow be heard.
This “rehearsal” I witnessed, to have “One Great Show.” is because the pressure was on the trainer to get the act together. The trainer treats the chimp in a cruel manner. The trainer, being schooled over the years by circus veterans, has reluctantly taken the advice and guidance which regretfully has eaten away his humanity and both chimp and man suffer.
Wonderfully directed, written, acted and staged. See this show and see your own humanity.