Edinburgh Fringe 2016
Teenage alienation explored in this rich dark realisation of a brilliantly plotted graphic novel.
What happens to our lost teenagers when they runaway to the big city? Why do they choose to leave home? These two questions are exquisitely brought to life and emphatically and painfully answered in this fabulous production – part of the Big in Belgium selection.
We ignore teenagers, we marginalise them, we fail to properly recognise their needs… no wonder they can feel invisible and be brimming with resentment. They’re masters of identity creation too, so when they want to slip away, disappear and reinvent themselves, they can vanish without trace.
The central character in this graphic novel show is one such young woman. Voiced by the superb Sara Tertongen, she continually has to point to where she is in the graphic projection. ‘That’s me there!’ It gets her goat; as she says later, ‘I take up space just as well as the next person.’ She’s lost at sea. An urban sea. She’s been lured by the promise written on the side of the Gucci and Armani cord handled shopping bags: New York, Paris, Milan. How exotic and exiting it sounds. Like corporate child-snatchers they lure her away from the migraine inducing world of her tedious suburban life and hellish weddings. What lies in store for her is shoplifting from H&M and a murky world of misfits. It’s a hell of a journey, though one thing is for sure, at the end of it she’ll stand out in the crowd. She’ll look the business – fashion shoot front cover.
This production is a masterclass in mixed media fusion: Joris Caluwaerts live musical score is evocative and lyrical; Philip Paquet’s drawings brim with attitude and menace; and Tertongen’s voicing of the central protagonist is simply stunning – her voice clipped, measured, bristling with bile. She nails this character. She gets her. Jaw droppingly good – live acting rarely gets better than this.
Go see this. In fact, I suggest you make it the final show you see at the Festival this year. It will be something to take away with you that will really last. At one point, our runaway girl rails against another boring evening being on the cards, she cries out: ‘IS ANYTHING HAPPENING TONIGHT?!’ Well it is, and it’s happening at Last Call.