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Edinburgh Fringe 2023


Tana Theatre Company

Genre: LGBTQIA+, Theatre

Venue: C Venues


Low Down

“Tana weaves together spoken word, physical theatre, and cabaret, within the confines of a London lockdown.” A debut piece from Tana Theatre Company.


Tana examines the lives of two digital generation students in  Covid lockdown UK, camping in the living room of their absent university professor. Out of their comfort zone on many levels, this is a drama about self-discovery, connection and encounters with a hedonism that can challenge and even disrupt self-identity. 

A chesterfield sofa marks out the set as an academic’s living space and we are offered shadow movement performed behind a white cloth drape that needed better definition. Even if the intention is to blur the image, the physical performers were too prominent among the visuals created. (The performance space needed a more complete blackout).

At the heart of the piece is a well depicted central narrative, an unfolding situation, an evolving encounter between two young people, there is some impressive, authentic character acting, fringed with some more anarchic polemic about pleasure and the sacred nature of sex and hedonism. The piece has the intention to break rules in theatrical form, is bold and unapologetic in its brash interference with the linear narrative. Sometimes that confuses but the audience were also happily teased, provoked and infected with the unpredictability and the interventions of a culty  academic professor. Some of these juxtapositions were a little forced and derivative but I still applaud the courage and creativity at the heart of what emerges as offbeat, occasionally unhinged theatre. It’s a heart-full and heartfelt play that mines our humanity and comes up with golden insight and affecting interplay. Queer wiles are well observed and the physicality is well designed and executed by capable performers. Dialogue and movement are integrated to create an affecting mood, with stillness and a patience to not hurry the action, a real virtue in conception and direction. 

It is a testament to the focus and commitment of the cast that they overcame the noise bleed (an almost constant bagpiper on the Royal Mile) alongside a dark theatre space that was leaking natural light from a poorly blacked out space. The production deserves better than that.

Overall this is a creative and warmly intentioned exploration of sensuality, identity, love and pleasure. It’s quintessential fringe and its heart is open throughout. Direct, daring yet rooted in a calmly shared story that ends just at the right moment and receives its well deserved applause.