Brighton Fringe 2013
"Sylvie Dee is not online. In fact, she may never be online again. Because Sylvie Dee – eco-activist, self-appointed orphan and party planner for the whole estate – has disappeared. Completely. Will you help us find her?" Interactive walk-through theatre from Touched, this is a work in development production.
This is a work in progress piece from Touched Theatre premiering at Brighton Fringe.
Here we have an indoor promenade piece, a new story of "the green in our roots and the blue in our hearts" from Touched Theatre. And I can’t tell you any more about the story without spoiling it. So I won’t.
Here we have a mix of modern puppetry, an original music backdrop and new writing, a mystery of disappearance unravels.
Sylvie Dee, eco-activist cannot be found and what unfolds in various rooms at the Nightingale is a partly interactive story journey to unravel that mystery. We follow on foot, from room to room, from place to place, from episode in time to episode in time.
In places we are inches from the performers in a style that is always accessible, often narratively very direct, full of inventiveness and emotional honesty. As audience, we are spoken to as if we are there, and as if we are witness to these players in the dark tale. All were involved, all have a defence, a position and a take on, and a stake in the one who vanished.
The music is evocative and there is clever, careful placement in its realisation and the way it is embedded in the story.
Use of projection enhances and is never gratuitous and the found spaces are used with well chosen creative insight. Acting styles are occasionally uneven and this needs a bit of work but there’s a charisma and intensity to the performers that emotionally charges the piece.
This is a piece in development and the narrative needs to settle more. But I was never less than fully engaged in both the story and the promenade spectacle. The ending was touching and threads are drawn together cleverly.
The narrative flow takes place through a number of rooms, combining – rare for such intimate promenade work – a lot of direct narrative, combined with film, sound, music, physical theatre and some deft and elegant puppetry. There’s a decent script at the heart of this. Colour becomes a keystone and provides teasing hints to the emerging puzzle of what happened to the central character. Some of the links and invitations to the next room felt a little clumsy and woke us from the immersion a bit. I’m sure this will be ironed out as the piece develops and plays more.
This was one of the few promenade pieces at the Brighton Fringe and I highly recommend it for its creative restlessness, its brash storytelling directness, the playfulness with props and puppetry, the magical placement of image, sound and music, its ability to play with scale and tale, its evocative atmosphere and its honest directness. Fresh and full of images that stay with me even now, it’s good to see work like this on the Fringe.