Edinburgh Fringe 2014
Betty is a nervous young lady who is about to start her new job. Over a period of months and years she rises in confidence and within her company until she finds that she has lost the essence of who she wanted to be. She rediscovers this central core at the end and we are with her in the cosiness of herself with needles.
A narrator tells us that Betty is dreaming. The following morning she is pushed to her new job and is so nervous that she has to return various times to make sure she has left her home safe and secure for the day. Upon arriving at the office she meets the receptionist who sorts her day out. Following on from what appears to be a rather mundane task which was foretold in her dream Betty returns home. That night she dreams again and the following day her dreams once again come true. This is a pattern that begins to be repeated and we see Betty grow in confidence. She also grows within the company though one encounter with the boss nearly sees her very dignity being ripped from her. As she climbs the corporate ladder her love of knitting is lost until one day she remembers how she loved to knit and goes in search of her wool. In a final image we see her knitting once again at the top of her own Everest.
This is a show that has a narrative based upon the movement of its central character. The mask work that we see is superior in terms of how it has observed the human body and is now interpreting Betty‘s nervousness and worry. Her movement from being that tiny mouse into being the woman she is, is impressive. The performances are therefore the key to this. In fact I could do without the words that seem to suggest a lack of confidence in the movement. The soundscape was good and helped but the words used to help us I found slightly irritating.
The staging is also key and I have to say that I love a good set. This was both creative and functional. I loved all of the masks and certainly through each dream we were given new characters to enjoy that added to the narrative. Our sympathies are with Betty because she is a rounded person who gives us a sense of her frustration within her as well as the circumstances in which she finds herself.
I really enjoyed this piece. Although there were areas where I felt there could have been more confidence in the masks and process I was enthralled at times, touched and more importantly entertained by Betty and her antics. It is certainly saying something that I enjoyed a performance where the principal dream of the central character was to knit.