City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

That's It, manipulate Festival, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 03 February 2015

That's It (production still)
Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Eric Bass, Ines Zeller Bass (co-artistic directors), Ines Zeller Bass (lighting), Fillip Timmerman
Sabine Molenaar
Running time: 

Sabine Molenaar takes on the challenge of presenting physically the metaphysical in That’s It.

Not, perhaps, what one might expect as part of manipulate, the annual showcase delivered by Puppet Animation Scotland, Molenaar’s very physical presentation is supported solely by a few props and a couple of pieces of stage furniture.

Appearing almost in the manner of Kern Falkner in the late Tom McGrath’s version of Merlin, Molenaar interprets the life cycle through a series of dream-like states, exploring the ecstatic and terrifying and reminding us that if all we have in common is our humanity and our frequent confusion at our condition, then the least we can do is to share that.

It’s not always a comfortable experience, and Molenaar clearly intends the discomfort the voyeuristic aspects of That’s It raise in her audience.

Molenaar’s very considerable abilities are to the fore in this piece, as she tests her body to what appear almost its ultimate limits, taking us on her journey to reach the heights and depths of human imagining and illusion.

However, although we remain stunned by her control and her daring, there remains at the end our unspoken question, as Georgia Brown frames it –'Is That All There Is?’ – which, given Molenaar’s outstanding performance, may seem needlessly churlish, but in spite of Molenaar’s thoroughly expressive presentation, what’s missing is sufficient context to carry her exploration.

We travel, it seems, from cradle to grave without any framing narrative, which may well sum up the reality most of us experience, but leaves us here without any comforting illusion that we may have some control over shaping our personal narratives.

These, however, are cavils when set against Molenaar’s achievements in That’s It , which are very remarkable and fully deserving of the recognition her work has already garnered at Spain’s ACT Festival and the Theater Ann Zee Festival in Belgium, and of its very warm reception by the Manipulate audience.

Show was on 2nd February