The Static Review
ThickSkin Theatre makes a triumphant return to the Fringe two years after the prodigious Blackout with another high octane, physically driven winner with a simply affecting message.
Sparky (Brian Vernel) seems like a typical 15 year old – volatile, uninterested in the mundanely boring days and reeking of Generation X restlessness… but he does like his hair. Guidance teacher Mrs Kelly (Pauline Flockhart) is trying not to give up on him and the new-age hippy dippy Mr Murphy (Nick Rhys) tries to channel Sparky’s energies with varying degrees of success.
It’s only when he meets seemingly psychosomatic student Siouxsie (Samantha Foley) that he’s awakened to the idea of cosmic ordering and the belief that his newly discovered telekinetic superpower could help him do the horrible things his brain has been occupied with…
The simple idea of being able to have your darkest desires come true serves as a double function for a lost generation… it terrifies because the human brain is complex and capable of making us all think horrific thoughts, especially when anger, jealousy and lust become a factor. But it also subtly warns against the education system, suggesting it shouldn’t be about statistics and antiquated curriculums – instead it needs to nurture the potential of teenage talents.
The four strong cast attack the piece with aplomb, with Vernel’s cocky, abrasive opening a sign of an exciting piece of theatre ahead. Narrative is delivered through fast-paced storytelling to give caveats of information on the inhabitants of Davey Anderson’s gritty and humourous prose, while short scenes of reality and imagination intersperse, covering all manner of topics as we glean insight into the characters, who all have their own demons to dance with.
Director Neil Bettles’ transitions are flawless, with the quartet seamlessly moving sets as they weave around the stage.
The Static may not be saying anything new, but it says it with a fresh, visceral approach in a physically demanding and emotionally charged performance, incorporating dynamic multimedia elements and a pumping soundscape, as the physicality steadily increases throughout; a definite highlight being the explosive choreography to visually exemplify a first kiss – the stage electrifies with consuming movement, lighting and music that may just bring a possible tear to the eye.
An in-your-face contagious expression of want delivered in a witty, fast-paced and visual feast that will not disappoint. This Made in Scotland showcase is a winner that you will carry with you for a long time.
The Static is at Underbelly, 2.40pm daily until Sat 26 August
Ticket Prices: £11 (£10)
The Static was winner of the Scottish Fringe Theatre Award 2012