Edinburgh Fringe 2010
The intimate caves in Edinburgh’s Old Town are a good venue for this interesting piece of work about the connection we have with Wolves. We watch standing up in semi-darkness as the wolves move about and tell their stories.
We are herded in to the dimly lit space, it smells sweet and musty and the howl of wolves can be heard. They appear, shuffling, sniffing and rubbing up against us. They then begin to talk about the history of wolves, the ecology of of their habitat, the myths surrounding them and most importantly the psychology that interconnects them with us.
The action shifts from the stage to different parts of the floor and the audience surround the action. This means that people can’t always see, but one has a good idea by listening. It is quite dark, so it is harder to make out what is happening when it’s not right in front of you. Other parts take place on the ground so many can’t see, and although this is the nature of promenade theatre, some better lighting would have helped, for although the obvious effect was for it to be in semi-darkness, some low lighting would have improved the atmosphere.
The performers are all very strong at being wolves, the noises they make are very realistic. They are all professionals from theatre companies like David Glass Ensemble and DreamThinkSpeak who specialize in promenade work. The problem is they speak so clearly and properly it jars with the animal characterizations.
We expect a story and it seems to start off as one but then trails off, telling mini stories and myths. That’s fine, but the transitions between periods of wolf playing activity weren’t really clear. The actual script is very poetic and epic, and I lost track of it quite a lot. The audience were very attentive but were chuckling quite a lot of the time, and I’m not sure if that was the intention. The whole thing felt a bit camp and tongue-in-cheek, even a bit unsavoury with all the wolf rubbing and mating.
The exploration it expounds is interesting enough but the over-clever language becomes tiresome. And although his performing is very good, I am not sure that a classical style of speech really weds with physical theatre here.