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(A) 7 out of 31
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Rating Guide
None = Unmissable

= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme



Absence and Presence. (Page 67).

Drams None required.
Venue Aurora Nova at St Stephen's. (Venue 8).
Address St Stephen's Street.
Reviewer Ksenija Horvat.

After a somewhat slow start, Absence and Presence unfolds into a powerful exploration of the themes of love and loss, with strong autobiographical undertones. Poised, lyrical and exceedingly beautiful, the show inches quietly into all of one's senses. The spectators are taken on an emotional journey of their own, as Andrew Dawson's profoundly intimate story transfigures into their own recollection of those loved and lost.

The show is a continuation of Dawson's experimentation into fusing movement, word, imagery and multimedia, begun in his earlier works Space Panorama and Quatre Main. He comes across as a terrific mime artist, who keeps his audience on the edge of their seats throughout the performance, and some of the visual effects he produces are stunning.

It is impossible to come out of this show untouched, Dawson's serene virtuosity ensures that there is no dry eye left in the house. Perhaps the show could do with some textual editing in the very beginning, in order to allow the movement to speak for itself. Still, despite occasional prolixity, it is a formidable achievement on the part of the artist, the one that fully deserves to be awarded with a Fringe First.

Note on the artist - Andrew Dawson studied dance with Merce Cunningham in New York, and theatre with Desmond Jones, and later with Phillipe Gaulier, Monika Pagneux and Jacques Lecoq in Paris. In 1984, he co-founded an acclaimed Mime Theatre Project. In 2003, he directed fabrik's Wolfgang Hoffman and Sven Till in Pandora 88, and most recently he directed a new piece for the fabrik Potsdam, Come Die With Me, inspired by the letters of Heinrich von Kleist. Andrew Dawson is a cultural ambassador for the 2012 Olympics.
© Ksenija Horvat 12 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 22 August (not 16th) at 13:45 (1 hr).
Company Andrew Dawson.
Company Website www.andrewdawson.info

   

Acetylene. (Page 67).

Drams None Needed.
Venue C. (Venue 34).
Address Chambers Street.
Reviewer Pippa Tennant .

If you think break dancing is ‘not your thing’ the 2FaCeD Youth Dance Company’s breathtaking feast of break, street and contemporary dance, Acetylene, will flip that thought on its head. This show is for everyone!

The epitome of cool, these duracell boys do not cease to amaze with robotic rhythms, tireless gymnastics and stunning balletics. The superbly imaginative choreography of Tamsin Fitzgerald produces a continual 'wow' factor as these boys fly over and under each other - every move timed to slick perfection. Accompanied by music from Bjork to Inxs via James Brown, their beautiful bodies are pushed to the limit as they engage in solos, duets, trios and thrilling group sequences.

Their 2004 performance of Slammin’ was a total sell-out, but Acetylene possesses all the exhilaration of Slammin’ and much, much more – the level of progress made by these boys in the past year is a credit to their dedication and enthusiasm. Get a front row seat for this fast-paced break dancing action!
©Pippa Tennant 10 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 20 at 15:05 every day, not Sunday.
Company - 2FaCeD Youth Dance Company.
Company Website www.www.2faceddance.tk

   

All Wear Bowlers. (Page 67).

Drams
full glass.
Venue Aurora Nova@St Stephen’s. (Venue 8).
Address St Stephen’s Street.
Reviewer Ksenija Horvat.

Two clowns, three bowler hats, one film screen. Add to this mixture a pinch of Rene Magritte, a sprinkle of ventriloquism, one magical egg and plenty of physical comedy. There is no doubt that All Wear Bowlers is utterly hilarious. From the outset, when two Laurel and Hardy-like characters literally burst onto the stage, Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford will have you in stitches.

While causing as much mayhem as humanly possible, they create a theatrical template that is a cross between the magical world of silent comedy, variety shows, and Samuel Beckett’s absurdist humour. Their enthusiasm is utterly contagious, resulting in the audience’s willingness to be manipulated, and drawn into the characters’ playful world, even if this means ending up without their seats. Sobelle and Lyford feed on continuous contact with their audience, they use it as a springboard for their next routine, each dafter and more insolent than the previous one.

Everything happens at the most rapid pace, the gags change before one’s eyes with such a speed that there is no time to think, budge or catch one’s breath. It is precisely this astonishing speed that is the crux of the show, the elemental ingredient that makes it tick. It emphasizes the subtlety of the two performers’ physical skills and the flawlessness of technical effects required for some of their routines to work. When the action slows down in the second part it seems to drag on for ages, and, though there is a perfectly good dramaturgical reason for it, the change in pace somehow does not fit into the overall structure.

All things considered, it would be no surprise if All Wear Bowlers wins a Fringe First. It is probably one of the funniest, gentlest and most endearing shows you will see this Fringe, a reminder that underneath all the rubble, bleakness and sorrow, life is eternally beautiful.
© Ksenija Horvat 8 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 29 August (not 16th, 23rd) at 18:30 (1hr 20mins).
Company - rainpan 43.
Company Website - www.allwearbowlers.com

   

And The Little One Said (Page 67).

Drams full glassfull glass.
Venue Roxy Art House. (Venue 115).
Address Roxburgh Place.
Reviewer Neil Ingram.

It is good to see young companies experimenting with different ways of presenting theatre, even when some of their ideas don't really work. Full Tilt's And The Little One Said combines physical movement, spoken scenes and video clips to tell the story of 7 young people at a party. Most of the action is conveyed through gesture and looks, as the actors move over, through and around the set which is at one moment a room, and at another a large bed. The spoken parts are less convincing, although the enormous row all 7 have at the end is pretty realistic. Least convincing parts are the video clips,which add little to our understanding of the characters.

The acting is good in parts, with the most memorable contributions coming from deviser/director/choreographer Sam Grogan, who is obviously the driving force behind the group. Entertaining at times, but not really substantial.
©Neil Ingram 23 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 27 at 21.35.
Company - Full Tilt.

   

Anne of Green Gables. (Page 67).

Drams full glassfull glass.
Venue The Garage. Citrus Club. (Venue 23).
Address Grindlay Street.
Reviewer Garry Platt.

What can you say about Shakti? She's a Fringe in her own right, and more than that she brings some of the most amazing acts to the Fringe, typically from Japan but also from Korea, Germany and France. Shakti also always appears on the fringe to perform dance which typically has strong sexual overtones.

Anne of Green Gables is no different, taking the wilful and strongly independent aspects of Anne's character from the book of the same name she then supercharges them into an exotic display of physical theatre. It's incoherent, there's no narrative as far as I can determine but rather a sequence of different elements from Anne's personality, ripped out and presented to the audience for their delectation. Shakti fans will pour into the theatre to see this show. Shakti virgins may leave wondering what the hell that was all about, but no one will leave with an indifferent opinion, and that's Shakti's great strength, she provokes a reaction and always gets it.
©Garry Platt date August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs on the 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 20:10.
Company - Shakti.
Company Website - www.thegarageinternational.com
   

The Art of Travel. (Page 67).
Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glass.
Venue C Chambers Street. (Venue number 34)
Address Chambers Street.
Reviewer Vivien Devlin.

Alain de Botton's best selling book, The Art of Travel explores the philosophy and human desires behind our need to travel. De Botton draws on his own personal experiences and weaves these together with the experiences and thoughts of former travellers as he follows in the footsteps of Edward Hopper, Vincent van Gough, Nietzsche and William Wordsworth. Comparing imagined dreams of distant paradise islands with the pleasures and problems of contemporary travel, the reader is taken on a fascinating and illuminating journey. It makes us question why do we have an instinctive urge to be somewhere else, to seek out exotic places, unfamiliar cultures and new landscapes.

Kadam is a performance company from Bedfordshire, England with the aim to "sustain, promote and develop South Asian dance." Choreographer Kali Dass has been inspired by this book to create a dance piece based on the first three chapters, On Anticipation, On Travelling Places and On the Exotic. With a backdrop of rolling waves a young woman moves slowly in a dreamlike trance. A video film then illustrates travel to foreign lands, to rainy cities, airlines, airports and trains. To an original soundtrack of lively world music featuring cello and the delicate, precise percussion on the Indian tabla (all composed by Arun Ghosh), an ensemble of three dancers are on the move, as if between the Caribbean, Greece and the exotic far east.

Unfortunately the choreography is extremely slow and repetitive to the point of soporiphic and the dancers, while well versed in the traditions of Asian dance movements, add nothing in terms of expressive emotion. It's a worthy attempt but it needs much more in performance and production values to capture a real sense of meaning. What is lacking is the literary context, poetry and painterly images which are at the heart of de Botton's rich and imaginative travelogue.
(Reviewer's note. This performance began 55 minutes late due to a fire alarm and subsequent late running of the previous event. I was unable to see the final 8 minutes of the show, but considering the whole experience of the production, this does not alter my views).
© Vivien Devlin,5 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 13August date at 1435 every day, not Suns etc.
Company - Kadam.
Company Website www.kadam.org.uk .
   

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(A) 7 out of 31
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