EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
Church Hill Theatre.
August 9th to 25th (except 14, 21) – 7.30 pm August 11, 15, 17, 22, 24 – 3 pm
🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars)
Here is the European premiere of the latest show by the company 1927. It has their usual blend of sophisticated stagecraft with an enthusiasm for the early days of cinema, with a fusion of handcrafted animation and storytelling and a live musical score involving donkeys’ jaws, musical saws and Peruvian prayer boxes.
Both musically and visually the show was very engaging, and the combination of onscreen originality and score was arresting in the “mating snakes” section late on. The stories are narrated by friends and family of the company, and the varied character of the voices and their unpretentiousness adds to the authentic feeling of the tales.
However, reading the material provided before the show, and seeing mention of Angela Carter and Italo Calvino, I thought that we were maybe in for versions of folk tales or revisions of them that may spark off new ways of thinking about such stories or maybe a new slant on them. I was disappointed in the obviousness of some, though they fitted with the slapstick traditions of early cinema. The cat that ate the world story seemed long, but like all the others the visual effects and music were striking. The title Roots tale seemed oddly like a statement, like an iron removing any creases the story may be tempted to develop.
This show is enormously skilful, visually and musically very appealing, and it provoked a good deal of laughter. However, it seemed that the show was not altogether sure whether to go for a child or adult audience; with some stories, such as The Cruel King, it was clear where things were going well before the end. It would have been good to have felt that the stories had made more demands on the audience.
But it was all great fun and memorable experience.