City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

What I Heard About the World Review

By Justine Blundell - Posted on 21 August 2013

What I Heard About the World image
Show details
Third Angel & mala voadora, co-produced with Sheffield Theatre & Teatro Maria Matos
Running time: 
Devised by Jorge Andrade, Alexander Kelly & Chris Thorpe
Jorge Andrade, Alexander Kelly & Chris Thorpe

Three men are in relaxing in their flat. One lies dozing on the sofa, another sits in a chair watching the audience arrive and the third is playing his electric guitar. A stuffed fox rears up at the coat stand, a moose’s head is mounted on the side of the cupboard and a lifebelt hangs off the end of the sideboard.

These observances appear odd, but are not at all unusual when compared to the different customs that are enacted across this crazy world of ours. Except that the habits are only strange if they are not your own.

What I Heard About the World is a roam around the globe, stopping in various countries along the way to deliver bizarre facts about the lives of the people who live there, and all from the comfort of someone else’s living room. But this was a strangely uncomfortable journey.

We are told of lands where there is a telephone confession line, giving you the option of pressing 1 to confess your own sins and 2 to hear other people’s; another where the army give you a life-size cut-out of your dad to play with if your real one is sent overseas; in another, you can buy fresh air in a can and in yet another, people care so much about their virtual kids they let their real kids starve to death.

Some of the facts are accounts of truly shocking human atrocities, some are amusing and others really make you think. The different delivery styles of the three performers – Jorge Andrade, Alexander Kelly and Chris Thorpe – and some creative use of props, prevents this from being merely a list of bizarre things foreigners get up to, although exactly what their point is, is not clear.

As a species, we didn’t come out of this production looking good. I was left with the overriding impression that all 7 billion of us are irrational beings, justifying our emotionally-driven actions by constructing narratives that make some sense to us, even if to no-one else. Andrade concluded that you can only grab at stories and see how long they will keep you afloat. Oddly depressing.

Runs until 24 Aug, 9.30am

Tickets £12 (£8)