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Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Fahrenheit 451

ExADUS Theatre Company

Venue: The Vault, 11 Merchant Street


Low Down

The performance begins, appropriately enough, with a quick blast of Twisted Firestarter, and the production generally hits that sense of energy all the way through. There’s a good sense of purpose and dynamism throughout, from a company very accomplished at group work.


Visually, we clearly take a cue from other dystopias we’re familiar with, particularly, it seems, Equilibrium, and to a certain extent, The Matrix. The set is awash with dull ash like greys, occasionally interrupted violently by slashes of red on a tie, hat or scarf.

In such a confined space, there’s some lovely movement going on, and we could certainly have afforded to see more of it: people twisting over each other to create monuments, beds, and even monitors. There’s a very simple and effective way of portraying fire and ash, both raining on the cast like bitter confetti, and we have books thwacking violently on the floor to create a beat accompanying the music.
The confined space might also refer to the single hour the group have to compress a reasonably complicated and dense narrative into; and in this they succeed admirably; unless you’re a purist of the original book, you’ll admire how the main themes of the text have been compressed into sixty minutes (and indeed, if you are a purist of the original text, you’ll appreciate the irony involved in reducing a great work to a sixty minute running time).
The performances are excellent, managing to blend anger and fear into a dense paste where paranoia and hope follow you out into the streets like smoke.