City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Theatre Review: TrAPPED

By Irene Brown - Posted on 21 June 2009

Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Tilted Productions
Maresa von Stockert (Direction choreography and design)Adrian Plaut (Lighting Design) Suzie Holmes(Costume Design) Jonathan Samuels(Production Manager) Ruth Bruce and Daniel Walters from Northern School of Contemporary Dance(Graduate Apprentices)
Amy Bell, Jake Ingram-Dodd, Lisa Manavitt, Simon Palmer and Phil Williams (Performers and creators), Nigel of Bermondsey (Guitar and Piano), Jeremy Cox (Piano, zither, typewriter), Robin Harris (trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn), Martin France (snare drum and tom- tom), Russell Raisey (Guitar), Angus Bolton, Shira Hess, Jeff Lefroy, Russell Raisey and the performers (Voices)
Running time: 

The scene opens on a semi -lit stage with two giant cage-like crates on wheels, each containing piled with box files.  Five dancers enter the stage in military costume to the persistent sound of the snare drum, moving stiffly in unison and taking on various heroic poses of propaganda posters. 

We are then shown a private time between a man and a woman where the tensions of their relationship are manifested in powerful, energetic dance and acrobatic moves while being not particularly discreetly taped.  The play's theme is reminiscent of the German film Lives of Others, set in the German Democratic Republic. Its conclusion lies in a change of regime where a new set of toy soldiers blindly help to build a new wall of files while the dissident, a musician, a writer, wrecks what files he can in impotent rage.

The pun of the piece's title, TrAPPED, subtly indicates the theme of citizens being trapped and tapped at once by the State.  It is an apt topic for modern times when people are anxious about surveillance. However, the piece lost some of its initial visual power with its over use of dialogue, which must have been demanding for the dancers with their already very physical and gymnastic performances.  It felt as if the audience could not be trusted to interpret the visuals.

The use of music was apt and varied and there were strong visual images like the girl being caught in a giant cat's cradle of tape, and files moving like dumb accordions, but this dark unsettling piece would have stood powerfully with just the showing, not the telling.