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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me @markffisher and @writeabouttheat I am an Edinburgh-based freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian, Scotland on Sunday and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success, published in February 2012 and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers published in July 2015. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide. See my website for more information and comprehensive Scottish theatre links.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Saturday Night, theatre review

Published in the Guardian

FOR a mesmerising 90 minutes, we don't hear a single word from the six actors in Saturday Night, a new work from the company Vanishing Point. They appear to hear each other, but, being on the other side of a glass window – a palpable fourth wall – we have to guess what they are saying. In Kai Fischer's monumental set, we peer voyeuristically into an old lady's sitting room, a young couple's living room, and even their bathroom.

It was a technique the company pioneered in 2009's Interiors, a reworking of a Maurice Maeterlinck play. Here, the results are not as poignant, but there is a similarly touching sense of life as it is lived, like a silent comedy of manners, with the added frisson of a surreal nightmare.

As with the company's adaptation of the Czech movie Little Otik, this is a world in which the division between civilisation and nature becomes blurred. On one hand, it's a funny portrait of an urban couple moving into a new house, dealing with eccentric neighbours and a leak in the ceiling. On the other hand, vines are creeping in from the garden where great apes roam, while the newlywed gives birth in the bathroom.

The rational explanation for this, which we piece together by the end, has a certain sentimental appeal. But the whole thing works better when it's mysterious, like an off-centre David Lynch movie. Either way, with its high-precision performances and commanding soundtrack, it leaves you happily lost for words.

© Mark Fisher, 2011



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