City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Snails & Ketchup Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 15 August 2011

Ramesh Meyyappan in Snails & Ketchup
Show details
Freemasons Hall
Ramesh Meyyappan in association with Iron-Oxide
Running time: 
Ramesh Meyyappan (creator), Chloë Dear/ Iron Oxide (producers), Josette Bushell Mingo(director), Jen Paterson and Lucy Deacon (aerial choreography), Tze (music), Marta Macková (animation), Anna Cocciadifero (costume design),Topher Dagg aka Ropemonkey (aerial rigging)
Ramesh Meyyappan, Tze

Snails & Ketchup has been inspired by Italian writer, Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees, the story of a young aristocrat who rebels against his family when he is served a feast of snails that he refuses to eat and decides to spend the rest of his life living in tree tops.

This story, with the frankly off-putting title, is told through mime and aerial acrobatics by the world renowned aerial performer and storyteller Ramesh Meyyappan. 

Perhaps it is a well-known text in Italy, but this reviewer is certainly not familiar with it, so while the individual mime gestures were clearly understood and their emotions easily read, the actual story was pretty much lost to me. 

There was some use of video at points in the performance, like when the text appears telling that the Baron is going where he can breathe; away from battles.  Considering there was no costume change and no props, this medium would have helped relate the unfamiliar story to an audience whose restless body language was evident as the show progressed. Each mime was superb and carried out with spritely elegance but some of the parts were confusing in this esoteric performance.

The stage set was bathed in a green light with stylised trees and an array of ropes where the audience was to witness Meyyappan’s accomplished and assured mastery.

Meyyappan, whose primary dialect is American Sign Language, is internationally renowned for his solo storytelling performances and collaborations and of course his astonishing aerial acrobatics.

Meyyappan’s body is bendy like a slinky and he seems to become each character, accompanied throughout with the especially composed score on the piano as if in an old silent movie. The childbirth scene was especially impressive as it was being acted by a man. 

The performance is highly skilled and full of imagination so it is a pity that the narrative was less prominent.

Show times: Til 28 Aug, 17.00

Tickets £10 - £13