Edinburgh Fringe 2019
We enter into the smoke filled room where a variety of props, all white, are brought on stage. One lone figure stands, immobile, with a microphone. There are then a vast array of props assembled, to the sounds of a voice over and the surtitles onstage that fill us in on the narrative. Once all is almost where it needs to be we have one performer moving around that environment which is changed by his presence as it, in turn, changes him. The interaction between the two performers comes when one has a treat for the other before the inevitable growing apart means they end up in different spaces within a common place.
Predicated on the idea that all is not simple in life, this piece of movement and installation takes us through the creation of a space, its movement within and how the environment shapes the people within it and how they, in turn can affect the environment in which they find themselves. As it is mainly white, the sterile environment adds to the feeling of distance between us and the action, allowing us, as an audience to take a distant view, an observational and critical eye on the ideas contained within Monster.
It allows the choreography to shine and the solo work, in particular, I found enticing. I thought the intrigue and interplay once the two performers were connected found humour but not a great deal else whilst the reimagining of the space was done simplistically enough to mean I was not irritated by the moving but interested in what it was recreating.
This was particularly pleasing when the white ball was revealed to us and then hung. It brought a sparkle to things that seemed to hint at a massive positive that was all too fleeting.
I did find some of the audio quite difficult to hear though the surtitles made a big difference to understanding the narrative.
This was clearly not meant in its 40 minute slot to delve into explanations but the white of the costumes, the starkness of the movement and choreography and the structure of the piece was a tremendous way to bring the themes and issues of life onto the stage.
The climax of the piece saw an ending of the journey began as the solo dance performer crawled offstage and this nakedness seemed to be the perfect ending to the piece, given that he was instrumental in putting the things onstage from the beginning. The shackles of the overalls lasted for enough time to cause us to focus on what he was bringing whilst allowing our responses to be guided by his presence.
This is a piece that lingers long in the memory and makes things appear to be contemplative in a way in which it explores the basic whilst performing the complex. It made a fascinating experience for us all.