City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

A Mano (By Hand), Traverse, Imaginate Review


By Irene Brown - Posted on 11 May 2015

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Web El Patio Teatro presents By  Hand (A Mano) image credit Ciara Larrea.jpg
Show Details
Venue: 
Traverse Theatre
Company: 
El Patio Teatro
Production: 
Julián Sáenz-López and Izaskun Fernández (Co-directors)
Performers: 
Julián Sáenz-López and Izaskun Fernández
Running time: 
45mins

It is a belief held in some religious faiths that man has been created from clay. In this highly skilled production from Logroño Spain, the two gentle young artists perform their own creation through the use of clay and their digital dexterity (that is meant in the flexibility of their fingers rather than the contemporary more technical meaning!)

While being seduced by the rhythmic ticking of what sounds like a cog turning mill with a breathing life of its own, the audience contemplates a small and rather lovely four drawered chest under two small spotlights. Between its Queen Anne legs are a pair of black curtains that will reveal miniature delights over the piece.
In moves, some of which call to mind the old horror film starring Peter Lorre, The Beast with Five Fingers , hand and fingers appear in an apparently disconnected way but this is just a warm up to show what these maestros can do in morphing a part of the human body to what feels like a piece of credible humanity. Their work holds echoes of Tony Hart’s famous character called Morph, a wee plasticine man who starred in his stop motion films and were great fun but the fact of their doing it live creates a new and magical dimension.

Once their skills have been established, they move on to a stronger narrative that involves a sepia toned second hand shop where one figure who is up for sale goes through a futile bid for freedom till he finds a highly significant other on whom he can project his love. His joy in finding someone that he perceives to be just like him may be brief but it is shown with incredible poignancy that completely draws the audience in through this deceptively simple medium.

With background music from a range of instruments including piano, strings, woodwind, guitar and accordion and ending with Piaf’s classic and heart wrenching rendition of la Vie en Rose , El Patio Teatro has produced a moving and believable show with just enough subtle naughtiness to hook in the adults in the audience.
The universal message carried in the simple and loving human interaction of touching and holding hands speaks to all ages at different levels. This is a remarkable miniature fantasy that beautifully reflects real life.

Monday 11 – Wednesday 13 May
Age recommend 6+