City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland


By Lorraine McCann - Posted on 08 August 2008

Show details
Assembly Rooms
Puppet Lab
Running time: 
Symon Macintyre (director)
Different volunteers every day

There are times, as a reviewer, when I find myself making a mental note to check afterwards how much the people who paid for their ticket had to part with. For whilst I found Supper at the Assembly Rooms interesting enough for me, it might not represent real value for money for your average credit-crunched Fringe-goer.

Puppet Lab are an Edinburgh-based company who are pioneers in headphone theatre. Their 2006 show, Ghost, was rooted on the streets of Leith, and was a considerable artistic success. This time, director Symon Macintyre has located to the upstairs bar space in the Assembly Rooms.

A small table is set for four, with wine glasses and fondue. The people at the table are not actors but volunteers, tasked with sitting, eating, drinking and talking while we the audience listen to pre-recorded monologues of their thoughts via sets of headphones.
When you are issued with your headphones, you are asked whether you would prefer to hear a man’s thoughts or a woman’s. I chose a man’s, simply because my friend was choosing a woman’s.

What I heard was, predictably, somewhat stream-of-consciousness but also seemed rooted in a specific experience of loss, with a few lines of Marvell’s "To His Coy Mistress" slipped in there, too. But in some ways, it’s not the actual content of the stuff in the headphones that matters all that much compared to the experience of knowing that what you’re watching and what you’re hearing cannot – and I mean CANNOT – possibly marry up, and yet you do find yourself making them fit somehow. Weird stuff indeed.

It’s in the nature of random "casting" that your enjoyment of a show like Supper is largely, I suspect, down to the luck of the draw. The day I went, there was one person at the table who had his back to me and whose body language seemed, just enough, to fit or counterpoint the thoughts that were in my headphones. Others may not be so lucky. One woman in front of me was sound asleep. But if you fancy a gamble, then this is one for you.

Times: Aug 6-24 (no show Aug 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19) at 14:30