City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Souvenirs, Zoo, Review

By michelle.haynes - Posted on 12 August 2015

Show details
The Human Animal
Running time: 
Sam Wightman (Director), Peter O'Brien (Assistant Director), Juliet Miriam Clark (Producer), Jamie Wright (Producer), Michael Chidgey (Music Director), David Johnson-Morgan (Set Design), Alex Webster (Costume Design), Alexandria Wallis (Writer), Oliver Higgins (Writer), Grace Holme (Writer), Max Kennedy (Writer)
Alex Welsh (Birdman), Ellice Stevens (Child), Oscar Owen (Grandfather/ensemble), Kitty Murdoch (Mother/ ensemble), Tommy Loftus (Lover/ensemble), Ella Tebay (One/ ensemble)

Memories are one of the most precious ‘possessions’ a person can have and often we treasure these through an object associated with them. Holding on to these items helps keep the memory alive and allow us to relive those moments again and again.

The Human Animal’s first fully devised show ‘Souvenirs’ does just that, exploring how and why we remember things the way we do. Through choreographed movement they ask whether the memories are completely true, or whether they have been twisted in our minds to make things easier to cope with?

Three children wonder just exactly who the Birdman (Alex Welsh) is, how many rats he eats at night and just how they will plan their attack. But when child four (Ellice Stevens) comes along an initiation dare must be carried out, and she finds herself face to face with the Birdman himself. An exploration of his house and its contents commences and through a whirlwind of stories and memories child four finds out more about the Birdman than anyone could have expected.

Taking a playful approach to memory, The Human Animal combines movement with props in a skillful and charming manner. Cast members change from ensemble to character with dexterous fluidity and embody the props becoming almost part of each item.

The entire script is cleverly written and perfectly balances the light-hearted with the forlorn. The unexpected insight and optimism of children is also heart-warmingly portrayed through the character of Child four which contrasts nicely to the initial bitterness of Birdman.

Michael Chidgey’s musical score is something to be admired, carrying the entire piece through layering live instruments and sounds with a loop pedal enhancing each scene. Every element of production seems to gel together from the set and costume to the casting, transporting the audience into what could be even be a childhood memory of their own.

An incredibly endearing look at how we cope with the past, good or bad, it is definitely a show to schedule in this Fringe.

7-22 August, 12.15pm, £7.50

Read Ken Scott's review of Souvenirs