None = Unmissable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme
Bird's Eye View. (64)
Venue St Stephens. (8)
Address St. Stephens Street. Tel: 0131 226 0000.
Reviewer Ksenija Horvat.
DO-Theatre (Russia) is well known to Edinburgh's audience. They are welcome guests and Fringe First Award winners for Hopeless Games (1999) and Upside Down (2002). This year's show, Bird's Eye View, based on Evgeny Kozlov's fascination with flying and crashing (in dreams and reality, as it says in the programme) is sadly less captivating than their previous two offerings. Visually stunning (which is the trademark of all DO- Theatre's shows), featuring some striking imagery on the verge of the grotesque, it lingers too long on certain scenes thus allowing the audience's attention to slip now and then.
One must admire the stamina and technical perfection of DO- Theatre's dancers, tour-de-force of their multi-layered storytelling, and their stylistic versatility. Their choreography and presentation of themes are polished to perfection, and have been enriched by collaborations with other companies such as Fabrik Company, with whom they share the creation centre fabrik. But, as refined as they are, they are also becoming recognisable, and it is increasingly difficult not to draw thematic and stylistic parallels with both their previous shows and Fabrik Company's work. While recognising that Bird's Eye View is a product of a formidable dance company, one cannot escape the notion that perhaps it is time to go a step further in their exploration of movement and form.
(c)Ksenija Horvat 7 August 2003 - Published on www.EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 25 August 2003 (7th -11th: 16.10, 13th-19th:19.40, 21th- 25th:14.40).
Brahannala. (Page 64)
Venue Augustines. (Venue 152)
Address 41 George IV Bridge.
Reviewer Irfan Jeeva.
This is a story from Hindu mythology about Arjuna. Brahannala is a concept in which the two polarities merge. The male and the female represent the two polarities in the Indian subcontinent culture. According to Mahabharata, during the last (13th) year of Arjunas exile, he who has always been a symbol of masculinity in its most glorious form, becomes a woman (according to some books, a Eunuch).
The show starts with the introduction of a feline and a canine who take us through the story, both of which are brilliantly played by the performer Vinay. The canine tells the story of a god called Prediction. Time was his father and space his mother. Memory was his sister and she looked back in time. Prediction looked ahead into the future and saw the great need for a brand new creature. He used rainwater, rich loam and fertile sand, and called it Wo An Man. But the king of gods was terribly afraid of this potent creature Prediction had made and He split it down the middle and called one half man and other woman. Through this division a new goddess Wisdom was made and though divided she herself was both woman and man in one. And hence each part develops a different hue, one was the creative right side linked to the moon, muse, music, magic, madness, memory, myth and metaphor. The other linked to the sun, science, speech, sentence and seriousness. It is this state of division and duality that was present in Arjuna, where he saw everything all at once and everything one at a time.
The choreographer, writer and director Veenapani, has brilliantly used the ancient Koodiyattum, the last surviving authentic Sanskrit theatre style. It is a technique in which the expression is verbal, aural, visual and aesthetic, none working in unison but together to express different colour to the expression. It is a technique, which is not bounded by behaviour, but elements which influence the behaviour, like breathing. She has superbly used the present day expressions to express Brahannala.
The performer Vinays acrobatic use of the space, strong command over changing voice and balanced movements creates an awe-inspiring and a unique experience that cannot be missed at any cost. Dressed only to the bare necessity, with the jungle music, South Indian accent and changing lights, all creates a typical Hindu mythology ambience. (Note from Editor - Ifran's description of the story will help Non- Hindus appreciate the true impact of the story, thanks).
© Irfan Jeeva August 2003 - Published on www.EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 24 August at 14:50 on 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22 and 24.