City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Nose Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 17 August 2011

Fringe 2011: The Nose
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Fat Git Theatre
Running time: 
Nikolai Gogol (original writer), Josh Roche (writer and director), Rosie Spiegelhalter and Imogen Clare-Wood (producers), Rose Bristow (designer), Matt Wells (musical director), Tom Allott (assistant director)
Joe Boylan (Ivan/The Nose/Inspector), Emma Jane Denly (Praskovya/waiter/Mrs Podtochin), Michael Murray (Beast), Kate Pearse (Kovalyov), Shubham Saraf (Stick), Thomas Syms (policeman/law), Matt Wells, Rose Bristow, Samuel Henk Dames (musicians)

Paying homage to via Sistina 125 in Rome where Nikolai Gogol had an apartment may seem to some to be absurd but compared to the antics of the Fat Git Theatre Company it is barely a step on the first rung of absurdity.

They have adapted Gogol’s strange and surreal tale of a high ranking military St Petersburg official, Kovalyov, who suddenly finds his nose is missing. Simultaneously, the town barber finds a nose in his roll and guiltily tries to get rid of it. Kovalyov has no joy in finding or even managing to report the missing organ, but does find there are sightings of it disconcertingly living an independent life in the town before eventually, if at first unsuccessfully, it gets back to its owner’s dejected face.

Taking the tale at face value without any Freudian analysis, its utter absurdity is pretty magnificently portrayed by this young group that even uses a tin basin and scissors as part of their percussion. The more conventional instruments are played oddly throughout with the accordion wheezing atmospherically as each wacky scene demands.

 The piece is full of rich, inventive language that includes a comic corruption of the famous Corinthians text when The Nose is at worship. People are used as props as cast members become a breakfast table and a reporter’s desk. Gory bodily functions are resourcefully displayed through paint throwing on the ‘white’ sheet that is the backdrop and there is clever use of comic relief (?) noses when The Nose is being re-attached.

Scene stealer Shubham Saraf plays the mad-eyed MC, Stick, and looks as though he is completely in his element in this zany world as he draws attention to the illusion of theatre with self referential Brechtian style introductions and scene changes. 

This new company is “...devoted to producing anarchic work your brain as well as your funny bone.”  and they look like they’ve achieved their goal on a limited budget with this funny, fearless and at times gruesome adaptation of a short story by one of the masters of the craft, Nikolai Gogol.

Show times: 15-27 August, 19.05

TIckets: £7 (£5)