FringeReview Scotland 2017
Lisa is on a quest to find the hour that she lost when travelling from New York to home. Through a variety of companions who display insecurities, a lost property office that is lost and the creepy goat from whom she escapes thanks to a substitute victim and then a bombing raid on the Black Dog, this is a flight of fantasy that is then anchored in her deep recovery in the second act. We get some of the understanding as her hospital visitors seem to give us insight into why she has been dreaming and seemingly disconnected from all around her.
I saw the original and was blown away and at the same time highly frustrated with the piece and this time round I was in equal measure in raptures and again suffering the issues with a disjointed script.
Let me begin therefore with the 8 actors whose job it was to navigate through the piece; they filled me with joy. Their enthusiasm and aptitude was exceptional and it made for an entertaining afternoon on a wet Friday. Despite the numbers in the audience being more about the quality than the quantity of their involvement, our acting troupe went about it with what would and should be described as professional pride; they played it as if the venue was over full.
The direction was relatively crisp though there were, at times, some dips in the slapstick and the flying sequence suffered a little from being on the floor. I found the oatcake chant a little disjointed and also the insecurity guards sequence was a tad patchy. It is minor criticism because by the time we got to the goat and the lost property this was shifting at a fair rate of knots, and taking us all with it.
I did not, however, take to the set. The backdrop of the massive green ramp which stretched up to the ceiling and which was used for the swings appeared to me like a good idea for one part that stayed there and was not as integral to the text as I would have liked. There is something about the mundane second act which, I think should be the springboard for the first.
The costumes were, however, tremendous. I found the range of costumes in the first act to be just the right side of fantastical to make it all understandable when we get to the second act. Perhaps the polar bear being a person though was not quite the effect desired in the text. It left you identifying the person and then when we end as we do in act two, connecting who arrives at the end of act one becomes quite difficult; to be fair, not necessarily the fault of the production.
I felt a little more connection to what came in the second half this time round than I had when I first saw it. The connection between the two halves are, after all, what drives my continued frustration with the piece. As is likely this will elevate itself into being a “standard” and the quality of the response to the text by these actors, designer sand the director suggest that it should be. I have to fight a little with my own view but cannot fault the creatives behind this as they gave their all and came away with something that was well worth the visit. You can but now look forward to a showcase, a professional career and catching up with each of the 8 in a theatre near you soon.