City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Centralia Review


By Garry Platt - Posted on 24 August 2012

Centralia
3
Show details
Venue: 
ZOO
Company: 
Superbolt Theatre
Running time: 
50mins
Production: 
Devised by Maria Askew. Frode Gjerløw. Simon Maeder. Andreas Medbøe Thoresen
Performers: 
Maria Askew. Frode Gjerløw. Simon Maeder

Three performers tell the tale of a town that has been abandoned due to the coal mine on which it sits catching fire. The three remaining town dwellers portrayed as innocents abroad have come to Edinburgh to tell the story of their love and relationship with what is left of their home. They are guileless, clueless and for the most part appear fairly stupid in their commitment to what was once the epicentre of a thriving community, but despite this I developed an admiration of their stubbornness and refusal to leave.

The characters are unique but they do border on stereotypes. The casts repetitious wide eyed unknowing looks and surprise when the audience laughs begins to lose some of its charm after twenty minutes becoming a little overcooked. Their unfaltering commitment to faux presentations of their dilemma and quandary becomes less and less humorous.

The initial setting and framing is funny, but slowly we are struck by the true notes of their terrible situation; the story of the death of a mother, the destruction of a way of life, the loss of a community, is this something to laugh at?

The awkward positioning of laughter with tears, of humour with sadness requires a subtlety and timing which I did not always find present. The show is less than an hour and some transitions and juxtapositions are not paced or spaced to allow the contradictions to settle and register with their audience. The combination of laughter and questioning reflection on the protagonist's dilemma failed to distil itself into a coherent piece. It was unbalanced in the combination of the two both in positioning within the structure of the piece and also in the relationship between these two themes.

The piece does have a clear quality and an attempt at something most performances on the Fringe don't even come close to. It would be good to see this theatre group continue as I suspect they will come to create quite a stir.

25 & 27 August, 10.20pm