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Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Portraits in Motion

Aurora Nova presents Volker Gerling

Genre: Multimedia, One Person Show, Solo Performance, Storytelling, Theatre

Venue: Summerhall


Low Down

A flipbook might look like an ordinary but unusually shaped book, but appearances can be deceptive. Open it, flip its pages and you’ll see a miniature movie. In Germany, home of Volker Gerling, the word for flipbook is Daumenkino – literally thumb-cinema. Gerling walked 4,000km in 15 years, photographing those he met along the way. He compiles these portraits into flipbooks which capture magical everyday encounters.


In this creative show, Volker Gerling, a consummate storyteller tells stories about the people he meets on his travels. He is no ordinary storyteller because he takes photographs of some of the interesting people and creates flipbooks. This might sound simple enough but the result is exquisite. Now add multimedia and he has a unique show!

Gerling is an interesting person and you will hear about some details of his life. He is a compelling storyteller, with a careful eye for detail, which one would expect as he is an accomplished photographer, but he takes so much care when performing his show, such as how he begins each of the many anecdotes, compact use of language or how he holds each flipbook, that it becomes art in its own way.

If you saw this show at Summerhall in 2015 you will find some fascinating additions to this year’s show. He is at ease and welcomes everyone when they arrive before the show then begins. He beguiles you with his discoveries and shares them with you. Standing behind his special multi-level table his flipbooks are projected on a very large screen, which enlarges his photographs.

Note that this is not someone showing holiday snaps. But it is an artist showing innovative and precious mini hand made films. It will be difficult to imagine what this show entails, and to avoid giving too much away to spoil enjoyment, if you can, just go! After a while Gerling sweeps us along and we are completely absorbed in the stories and images, we are right there guided by him, listening to every word and not thinking about anything else. It’s an astonishing feeling, and one that we, as adults may have left behind several years ago.

Gerling himself is a complete one-person show and everything in it is created by Gerling. He is a personable storyteller, photographer and his strong interest in people and their lives make him part ethnographer.

Time can be stretched or shortened in the visual storytelling, and Gerling captures one’s imagination when he makes subtle variations. He tells and narrates his stories with smart observations of the people he meets, infused with gentle humour, irony, wit and excellent timing – he also describes his process in between the poignant and fascinating vignettes.

This is a lovely way to spend seventy-five minutes, watching this charming and entertaining show in the company of Volker Gerling as your storyteller. Highly Recommended!