Sunday, 5 September 2010


28/8/10, Assembly Ballroom (Edinburgh Fringe)

Do Theatre: Russian mime. Very disappointing.

Started well. Three women in white lying sleeping at the back of the stage, another in brown downstage left in a hollow cube with red strands of wool going up into the flies and then back down to the sleeping women (who held the ends in their mouths). A man, very old, moving slowly and with great difficulty, enters through the auditorium with four scythes tied together acting as crutches and as supports for a sieve above his head which deposits fine drifts of flour/snow as he moves and shakes it. A second man does the music downstage right, his equipment including a theremin and an amplified box on which he dances. The woman in brown pulls the other three up by the red strands of wool; they waken and dance. The old man is stripped of his overcoat and scythes and turns out to be a young man in a suit, no shirt and shaven head.

After that... I lost track. There was a lot of rather random activity. The scythes were swung. The women changed dresses. The muso did a solo. The man was tied up in a cat's cradle of red wool hooked up to the edges of the stage by the women, and then cut free. There was continuous droning music. I lost interest, the thread and the will to live.

The hall barely a quarter full, and this on bank holiday weekend in one of the venue's bigger spaces. Word may have got around that it was boring. But there was also a piece in the Scotsman next day saying that, though overall ticket sales were up for the Fringe, some of the bigger venues were reporting thin attendances suggesting that some kind of ceiling may have been reached in terms of numbers of show outstripping the available audience.

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