Edinburgh Fringe 2018
This is a new show by the new Australian Company A Good Catch with Sharon Burgess Productions, premiering at the Edinburgh Fringe in the Assembly Gardens George Square.
Throughout the show these three women tumble, talk, fly and balance precariously with the ease and flippancy as if they’ve just popped round for a cuppa.
Debra Batton, Spenser Inwood and Sharon Gruenert have self-directed and hand-knitted this show, shining a light on women relating to each other in playful, fruitful relationships.
Casting off plays at the Palais Du Variete until the 26th August excluding the 13th and 20th.
I want to take my mother to this show. That is what I felt upon leaving the splendour of the Palais du Variete in Assembly Gardens.
You are introduced to this crocheted trio as they casually appear from the audience chatting, joking and welcoming one by one. It’s relaxed, it’s friendly, it’s disarming from the offset. So much so that you hardly notice what they are building out of their basic set of tables and chairs. The same furniture that you would find round a friends for a chat. This is intentional.
These three women manage to draw the audience in making them feel like an old friend having a good old chin wag whilst they spiral and plummet about the stage. All this in an hour is quite an achievement. Chairs balanced on people and people balanced on chairs and tables balanced on people and chairs all the way up to the dizzy heights of the luxurious tented roof. Quite, Quite, Remarkable.
The show itself tumbles and gyrates through tales of women’s lives who were gracious, kind, downtrodden, heroic and just downright splendid. At first glance it almost seems like the stories don’t relate to the movement onstage but you would be mistaken. The tales are held together with beautiful comedic movement that illustrate their literal onwards and upwards journey that is hard, perilous and downright dangerous at points. From the audience we realise that these brave performers aren’t just talking and twirling but showing us in movement these women’s and our own journeys through life.
But what surprised me most of all is that I started off scared. Not for me but for one cast member in particular. Debra Batton sprang onto the stage repeatedly mocking herself for her age. At 58 she’s by far the oldest acrobat I have seen and I regret to say I winced internally the first couple of times she crashed (intentionally) to the ground. But by the end of the piece I was so in awe of this energy and prowess that I was full to the brim of glorious golden warmth and the feeling I could do anything that truly makes me happy. ‘Handstands make me happy!’ she declared wildly from somewhere near the roof. What could be more inspiring than that? This is why I want to take my mother to essentially light a fire under the passion I know that still lingers inside of her dampened by age and responsibility.
The space itself may have been a hindrance. From my position front row just to the right of centre stage I was initially blocked by a table masking Debra Batton’s entrance which sounded excellent but I would liked to have seen it. Luckily this table was moved pretty early on but many audience members did move to get a better view which may be impossible with a larger audience.
I would also have liked to have seen more of an expansion of these inspirational female tales especially with how their stories ended up. Lastly it would have been nice if the show welcomed the men to the audience as well. Sadly only the females audience members were recognised. This may be because in previous shows their audience had been laden with maidens but who knows, but at this show it was a pretty even split and, as important as it is, at this moment in time to bring women into the spotlight it is also important to not just preach to the converted. That, however is a minor point because this show is for everyone – young and old, feminine and masculine and for everyone in between to enjoy.