17 August 2009

Busy weekend at the Fringe

I spent most of the weekend in Edinburgh and went to see 6 shows.

Platform 88 was haunting, mesmerising and thought provoking. An old woman sits on a railway platform singing. A young woman appears, they fight, they dance. When the train comes the young woman disappears.

First Class was the story of how brash, larger than life post office clerk Bea teaches reserved Michael to sieze the day and enjoy life. She takes him on an imaginary journey to Paris. This show was a lot of fun, and at the end you are given a Paris metro map (so you can go on your own imaginary journey through Paris?).

Kaguya-Hime was a dance performance by some young Japanese girls. The dances were good enough, but they didn't really seem to have much relationship to the fairy tale they were supposed to represent. I saw the dancers performing on the Royal Mile earlier in the day, and didn't really feel I got anything more out of attending the actual performance. It might have been more interesting if the dances had been more varied, and if there had been more costume changes and lighting effects.

Tree Duet was bizarre, bewildering, odd. It was a strange intertwining of stories about trees, life, death, carbon footprints, and a temple. Some of the stories were interesting and moving, there were some interesting and thought-provoking ideas, but as a whole I didn't really know what to make of it. I wasn't sure I was really supposed to laugh at what was done with the bonsai tree at the end, and I kept thinking that the male actor must have needed the toilet with all the bottled water he consumed!

Lucky Dip was a lot of fun, really amusing with good characters and a good storyline about a man and a woman who spend all their time participating in competitions. There was innovative use of a bath cut in half, which was used in various different ways throughout the play.

Shut Up, Play was one of the best shows that I saw. It was absolutely hilarious. The yellow raincoat wearing performers are Japanese, and they create music from everyday things like crunching crisps or blowing bubbles. They are so full of energy and have great facial expressions, and the music they produce is great. There's some audience participation. They don't mind if you talk to your neighbour, use your mobile phone, or take flash photographs. I'd recommend this show to anybody!

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