Snapshots 5, manipulate Festival 2018, Traverse Theatre, Review

Submitted by Erin Roche on Sat, 3 Feb '18 7.50pm
Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Jessica Innes (creator/performer), Fraser Anderson (creator/performer), Kat Barrass (creator/performer), Calette Duke (creator/performer), Julia Hart (creator/performer)

The final night of the manipulate Festival 2018 featured Snapshots 5, a selection of pieces from the Edinburgh-based Diploma in Physical Theatre Graduates Showcase 2017.

A compilation of scenes from a longer development entitled Behind The Screen, looks at the effects social media on female tweens and teens, directed by director and main performer, Jessica Innes. Accessible for all, not just in content but also in form, as this piece is presented with shadow puppetry, shadow theatre, and overhead projections in lieu of dialogue. Topical, especially in the era of Black Mirror-esque social critique, this piece looks at the themes of social disconnection, cyber-bullying, self esteem and body dysmorphia, and the dangerously ill effects of social media and the internet upon mental health, especially in today’s youth. Soundtrack by Glassmasterer (aka Lewis Maxwell Bigham) with complex, busy guitar melody, adds to the intensity of this piece. A moving and important production that will only increase in importance as we continue to educate ourselves and the next generations on how to stay mentally safe online.

Fraser Anderson’s piece about a group of puppet pals starts off as a possible companion production to Barney or The Wombles...but quickly turns into a work that could have been titled, “Muppets After Midnight.” NOT for kids, these dirty, fuzzy puppets Bud, Dick, and Lola, accompanied with musical comedy by guitarist and vocalist Jules is irreverent, goofy, and possibly a reprieve for parents who’ve had it with the polite voices they give to their children’s stuffed animals.

Gorgeous cinematography combine with interpretative dance to create this piece that speaks to the inner dialogue of a woman in a volatile relationship. Whether that’s a volatile relationship with herself, her lover, or fame, that’s up to the audience to decide. Subtle or not-so-subtle undertones that nod to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the resulting movement to end all tolerance to sexual harassment and assault run throughout, whether intentional or otherwise. Beautiful is an understatement in this performance inspired by Pina Bausch and created by Kat Barrass.

It was Roald Dahl, beloved children’s writer, that once said, “Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” This piece reminds us all to discover the magic in the simplest moments: puddle-jumping, the softness of a feather duster, the silliness of mere make-believe. Calette Duke’s clowning around becomes a lesson in finding the fun in the world around you.

Mundane, perishable objects like eggs, flour, ketchup, and red gelatin make up the metaphor for the fragility of life in this piece about the way world leaders often “play” with the lives of humanity during the “game” that is war. A sharp comment by Julia Hart on the mess created by disastrous world conflict, and the cavalier way its perpetrators often handle it.

These Snapshots performances are part of the Artists@Work series within the manipulate Festival that act as a platform for Scottish-based physical theatre organisations and artists to experiment and to showcase new works.