FringeReview Scotland 2016
A surreal experience about how we should break out from the confines of the boxes in which we find ourselves. As we see these boxes, literally, in front of us and on the stage we watch the actors present characters as rebels, rebellious and confined by their own insecurities before they dive right into the next phase through smoke and a few mirrors.
This is a surreal experience. We witness a couple of actors prepare for the performance by placing items within boxes which have been gaffa’ed to the stage. Once we begin we have a few set pieces before they ask us to think and consider the lives of two people, George and John. They are never explained to us as to what they actually do but we get the impression that whatever it is, it stifles them. Through a number of set pieces we have a touching portrait of two of life’s misfits who need to get out more. Whenever they do get out they seem to be able to show us one thing – we should avoid doing this at home.
If you expect to go to see this and want to sit back and contemplate life; think again. This is a beguiling and puzzling piece. The two performers take us through a series of what appear to be disconnected pieces that tell us about life and why we should make sure when we are left alone with a tea cosy we should always try it on. This is about taking life and ensuring that our dash is fulfilled; the dash is what separates the dates of your birth and death on a gravestone.
At the end of it I have to say that I left with as much of a puzzled expression as I arrived with and the everlasting impression grew on me with distance. There were some great set pieces including one in masks about risk assessments which was funnier than portrayed, a real life smoking jacket, the candy floss out of smoke and then strange pieces of physicality which included blowing coloured paint from a funnel. Between them they made an interesting evening which is still running round my head looking for a box to leap into. For George it was give up the job you always wanted whilst for John it was that leap to a new foreign adventure thanks to a globe and a kid’s gun.
The boxes on the floor of the stage were only ever launching points and both Jenna Watt and Ashley Smith took us, along with the stage manager through the tedium of life with the option of a Whitesnake video. There were times when changes were made that were clumsy but then it was all made OK by the absurdity of the event it trailed.
Technically it was sound and all that was being done was done right in front of us. The use of pyrotechnics was ironical enough to be very funny whilst the text seemed to be as random as the sequence of events. Perhaps the dramaturg needed a firmer grip to convince us that these potential life changing moments should have changed our lives too?
There was something in here to enjoy and enjoy it I did. That I left confused as to what I had witnessed convinced me that it had value because as I explained it to others it became clear it had left a favourable impression on me. If you have the opportunity to catch it I would do so but within it I feel there is a greater piece and a sounder vision to come.