Sunday, 16 August 2009


15/8/09, The Zoo (Edinburgh Fringe)

Physical theatre/mime from six Oxford students calling themselves Idle Motion, showing off their knowledge of Borges with a bit of social satire (book groups were the principal target) and reflections on blindness (young lovers meet at book group and then she goes blind; Borges went completely blind just when he finally became head of the National Library in Buenos Aires, in charge of 800,000 books and unable to read them).

The Borges stuff was done in mime accompanied by narration, mostly by a girl supposedly giving a presentation as part of a job interview at the Bodleian. There were lots of gags involving books: Borges as a three-year old represented by the pages of a book cut into the shape of young child; the burgeoning city of Buenos Aires represented by pages cut with holes for windows, pulled out from books; an aeroplane made up of half a dozen books in formation held up by the cast; a blind Borges sweeping over a row of books like dominoes with his stick.

The space was too small: I had trouble seeing some of it, including a tiger (Borges was obsessed with them) created with the aid of a white overcoat, two tiny orange torches and another orange torch shining onto the coat through the pages of a book cut with jagged holes to resemble the pattern of a tiger's stripes.

A lot of it was derivative. Balletic moves with chairs; coats flapping to resemble wind. The acting in the dialogue scenes was OK-ish. A certain amount of stripping down to bra and knickers. A general sense of well-brought-up English kids, technically proficient but just a bit too prim to be utterly convincing (the recent musical version of Wedekind's Spring Awakening was much the same).

But A and D both said they got a bit teary at one point; S and I drifted a bit in the middle.

And at the end they had all that paper to clear up.

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