City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Scrapyard and Unhinged Double Bill, manipulate Festival 2014, Review


By Irene Brown - Posted on 06 February 2014

4
Paper Doll Militia
Show Details
Venue: 
Traverse Theatre
Company: 
Scrapyard Theatre Scotland Paper Doll Militia USA
Production: 
Scrapyard Teams: A as in hat: Sharron Devine, Skye Reynolds, Matthew Leonard, Sarah MacGillivray, Saras Feijoo, Mira Askelund and Hana MacKechnie; Guest Artist: Jemma McDonnell Your Life in Newsprint: Paul Gordon, Mona Kastell, Nanouche Oriano, Angela Cassidy, Maryam Sanjoori: violin, Kasia Różycki; Guest Artist: Al Seed Bert and Flo Emma Anderson, Jessica Innes, Jenny Logan, Melanie Jordan, Philip Kingscott, Sarah Miele, Caitlin Skinner (director): Guest Artist: John Wright Piece of Cake: Mairi Campbell: violist and vocalist, Andrew Simpson, Markus Helbig, Charlotte Anderson, Charlotte Hastings (designer), Belle Jones (director) ; Guest Artist: Liz Walker A as in hat: Sharron Devine, Skye Reynolds, Matthew Leonard, Sarah MacGillivray, Saras Feijoo, Mira Askelund and Hana MacKechnie; Guest Artist: Jemma McDonnell Your Life in Newsprint: Paul Gordon, Mona Kastell, Nanouche Oriano, Angela Cassidy, Maryam Sanjoori: violin, Kasia Różycki; Guest Artist: Al Seed Paper Doll Militia: Sarah Holmes Bebes, Rain Anya (creators)
Performers: 
A as in hat: Sharron Devine, Skye Reynolds, Matthew Leonard, Sarah MacGillivray, Saras Feijoo, Mira Askelund and Hana MacKechnie Your Life in Newsprint: Paul Gordon, Mona Kastell, Nanouche Oriano, Angela Cassidy, Maryam Sanjoori: violin, Kasia Różycki Bert and Flo: Emma Anderson, Jessica Innes, Jenny Logan, Melanie Jordan, Philip Kingscott, Sarah Miele Piece of Cake: Mairi Campbell: violist and vocalist, Andrew Simpson, Markus Helbig, Charlotte Anderson Paper Doll Militia: Sarah Bebe Holmes , Rain Anya
Running time: 
60mins

Manipulate is already at the mid-point of its Edinburgh run and the Traverse is buzzing and enjoying a packed house for this Double Bill.

Scrapyard is a project that invites theatre-makers of all disciplines to experiment together with collaborative ideas.

Participating artists were divided in to four teams and each given a guest artist to work with. Together, they had the remit of creating a short piece of theatre in just two weeks inspired by the word, Unhinged, the title of the evening’s finale piece from Paper Doll Militia.

The results were a very mixed bag.

Two of these, Your Life in Newsprint and A Piece of Cake, involved a lot of vague torch waving, with the stage being left in darkness for some of their limited time in (or in this case out of) the spotlight, some barely visible projections and general indecipherable strangeness in the form of dancing figures wearing newspaper costumes, amateurish shadow puppetry and not very convincing puppetry with a blanket and a pair of specs.

Daftness and strangeness is what audiences are open to in manipulate but these felt self-indulgent and esoteric; without the ingredients of being entertaining, moving or thought inducing; bewildering instead of beguiling despite the presence of the very fine musician that is Mairi Campbell.

In balance, the first piece A as in hat featured a hapless hi- vizzed lookalike of Richard Coyle’s Jeff from the TV series Coupling and his equally hapless and humourless companion learning a wacky lesson in how to laugh by observing a giggling version of the Puppini Sisters with drag act wigs. The two po-faced ‘learners’ were fantastic foils to the mirth filled glamour girls. This is an unfolding pleasure of zaniness as the five performers move together with comic aplomb. Top notch daftness!

The third Bert and Flo is an upbeat piece done to Glenn Miller style music that involved dance, six portable doors and passionate a love affair with a bird sock puppet. It may be best not to know what goes on behind closed doors but this fine of show of mime, clowning and puppetry makes for an accomplished and upbeat performance.

The old adage that everything comes to those who wait could not have held more truth than this evening with the breath-taking finale from America’s Paper Doll Militia with the title Unhinged that had been set to inspire the Scrapyard pieces.

The two acrobats have an other-worldly air in their feathered cap, wounded bird –like headgear and white costumes like sections of old Liberty bodice. To anticipating ticks and heartbeats, they bind and entwine themselves through the draped white cloth that serves as swing, harness, rope and ladder in an exquisite exhibition of strength and grace. The performance is beautifully bound and entwined in a winding sheet of life. Well worth the wait to see this sophisticated circus of now.

Unhinged opened in New York in 2012. This is its European première.

One show only, 5 Feb 7.30 pm

age 14+