City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Mr. Carmen at manipulate Festival, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 08 February 2015

Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Vadim Gololobov (director / technical director)
Maxim Iseav, Pavel Semtchenko

From the opening bars of Jan Komarek’s remarkable soundscape, we sense we are about to explore unusual territory.

Maxim Iseav and Pavel Semtchenko take us through this sometimes humourous and sometimes very serious examination of the yearning and desire which we all experience but which is only occasionally and partially (in both senses) fulfilled.

Using a mixture of puppets and props in playful and inventive ways, Iseav and Semtchenko remind us that in necessarily divergent ways, we all experience absence in the presence of what or whom we desire to be united with.

Whether spiritually or sensually, they suggest, what we long for ultimately eludes us, yet we continue to search, hope being essential to our own natures and the world we inhabit.

AKHE is a performance company formed during the heady days of perestroika and one senses that some of the jokes and references in ‘Mr. Carmen’ may well have significance that non-Russian audiences may not appreciate, but there was undeniably enough here to thoroughly entertain the audience of the performance seen.

Iseav and Semtchenko are themselves consummate theatre artists, expressive with the slightest of gestures or movements, conscious that detail is the bedrock on which the theatrical experience is built.

The two performers remind us that any encounter is both an unspoken contract and (in the best sense) a confidence trick, to which both parties consent and contribute.

Iseav and Semtchenko use both the stage and their own physical presences to explore and to question the nature and essence of this relationship to the full.