Saturday, August 28, 2010
Edinburgh: Another Someone at the Bedlam
My first inclination, when I discover that a show claims to be “about happiness”, is to bolt, to flee. But I’m ever so glad I didn’t give into the urge because, tangled and messy as it is, this is one of the more uplifting and exciting productions on this year’s Fringe.
The central story is not unfamiliar. Holly is a recent law graduate with ambitions to be a barrister. When she moves into a new flat she is initially finds her neighbours, Alicia and Jim, somewhat off-putting but becomes friends - of sorts - with them anyway.
Alicia convinces Jim and Holly to go on a date and they click, soon becoming a couple. But while Holly equates happiness with ambition and success, Jim is content where he is, working as a waiter, seeing where life takes him. This is too big a hurdle for Holly and they split.
Music and dance ripple through the entire production. It’s an intensely physical piece. The performers tumble and roll and wrestle, wrapped in one another, supporting each other’s weight and then springing apart. The music is supplied live by musician Becky Wilkie, who also acts as an occasional narrator and supplier of wry asides about the characters. As Holly’s emotional life is opened up to the audience the piece becomes more dreamlike and opaque, with her caught in a forest of coloured silk dressed in a faded pink princess dress. It’s an evocative sequence that captures the wonder of childhood without being heavy-handed.
Another Someone is the work of Leeds-based dance theatre company RashDash. They made their Edinburgh debut at last year’s Fringe with a piece called The Honeymoon, a show that while full of energy was unable to sustain itself; this new work, whilst maintaining a clear sense of their identity as a company, shows a marked improvement in terms of structure and story-telling.
It’s still a flawed work. They never quite succeed in making all the elements knit together seamlessly – it’s still possible to see the joins – and the more conventional scenes between Holly, Jim and Alicia suffer from a lack of originality when placed besides the lively dance sequences. Yet this scene-setting is necessary and they grasp that. This piece connects with the audience in a way The Honeymoon never quite managed.
The trio of actors, Abbi Greenland, Helen Goalen and Marc Graham, are convincing as their characters yet also adept at the more physical scenes, and though it sometimes stumbles, the whole piece ends on a percussive high. It also shows clear evidence of a company evolving in skill and confidence in a way that is immensely pleasing to see.
Reviewed for musicOMH