Edinburgh Fringe 2015
A certain feast for the eyes, ears, nose, and brain – that’s if you can stomach it. Clout Theatre’s FEAST gives you an hour of sensory overload, as we follow the evolution of three beings in soul, mind, and, most of all, body.
If you don’t like theatre that takes risks, makes you uncomfortable, and dives, headfirst, into the absurd; this is not the show for you. Clout Theatre are back doing what they do best: pushing the borders of what some may call performance art, and others would argue theatre. A barrage of uncomfortably high noise greets us as we enter the space, only decipherable as some sort of insect or the shrill cries of birds. A mass of flesh is assembled on top of a pile of dirt, twitching as the audience finds their seats. Three performers are barely covered in bandage like materials, over the important areas and around the head, so that only the face is visible. Attached by rope to their ankles, a large tin bowl. The lights are harsh and unforgiving, and we see every discomforting twitch their limbs make – all this before the show has even started.
We follow the three performers through a series of life lessons, marking their growths as organisms including standing, walking etc. or the ‘Breakfast’ section of the evolution of man. Each subsequent meal of the day remarks on the patterns that emerge through the discovery of the social, moral, and survival skills, inspired by historical and fictional literature. There is no speech throughout, the performers fully portraying their vast and hypnotic physical training, complimented with unnerving clowning and grotesque technique. Narrative structure is teamed and melded inseparably with surprising design choices, onstage and off. The use of any other technical aspects are sparse, brought in only to heighten the strong on stage presence and climatic moments. All we are left with is the sounds of skin, on floor, on dirt, on food, on skin – teamed with the audiences’ irregular breathing and nervous laughter.
The audience literally look down onto the stage from their raised, tiered seating, and grow more uncomfortable with our cosy chairs with every minute that passes. It is safe to say that this is a company that will not be taken lightly – everything that happened on stage was drawn out to almost unbearable reality, no corners cut, and no holds barred. The effect is one where, when leaving the theatre, you are not quite sure what you have just witnessed, and are certain you are unlikely to see anything like it again. One young actor in the audience was being comforted by his friends as the auditorium emptied. Join Clout on an incredulous journey through variety of worlds, through the guises of courses, and partake in a packed visceral plate that is difficult to digest. There’s no doubt about it, you will not find anything else quite like this on the Fringe.