Monday, 28 August 2017

The Edinburgh Takeover: Day 5

Tiredness is getting to me now. I think it is getting to everyone. You can see it on the faces of the flier-ers on the Royal Mile and in the voices of the buskers. Town was insane, as it was the last Saturday of the festival to the point where you had to stick out your elbows at 180 degree angle from your body just to be able to pass down the street. And everyone was feeling it.

With this in mind, I chose something very lighthearted for my penultimate show of the day - All's Well That Ends As You Like It. To sum up this production you have to think - what do you get if you put a manic Shakespeare loving director in charge of an am dram group and attempt to do justice to the Bard's great work? Chaos is what. Obviously.

Everything that could possibly go wrong with this play, does go wrong (intentionally I hope) with absolutely hilarious results.There was sword fighting, broken bones, death, more death. So even though, it isn't a real Shakespeare play, it is kind of beginning to sound like one isn't it? Plus the play within a play subject matter was an excellent, if slightly unoriginal, way to insert many comedic aspects.

The 'director' of the fictional play, who potentially spends more time on stage than any of the 'actors' who are meant to be working for him, is vocal in his love for Shakespeare and exasperations that his colleagues are destroying it for him. He was the most entertaining character of the show who's quip 'Remember if it's not in Iambic pentameter, I can't hear it.' was my favourite line of the show. He did an excellent job of entertaining with a variety of sarcasm and farce. Plus his little breaks into Shakespearean verse was well performed and I am glad that there was a little bit of Shakespeare which survived the mutilation. For the director's sake as much as anyone else's.

I then moved on to Sylvia Plath, Your Words are Just Dust, another last minute choice but one of my favourite shows of the entire fringe. Having only read The Bell Jar a few months ago and been profoundly effected by it (as you can see from my blogpost in May) I was interested to see someone else's take on her words. Because to enter Sylvia Plath's head and speak her words with conviction is difficult. She felt things so deeply and you have to feel those same things just as deeply in order to give her the justice her words deserve.

Alice Sylvester was perfection. Every movement she made, every breath she took, every look, every word was thoroughly thought out and meant something. It was intensely powerful. Hypnotic too. And there wasn't anything which broke that hypnotism. She didn't didn't hesitate or stumble over her words, but spoke with an engaging confidence which meant she inhabited Sylvia Plath.

A mixture of Plath's words and her own, Sylvester brought her back to life. She acted a charming scene from The Bell Jar, which led to the title of this performance. A heartbreaking and slightly ironic title for such a troubled author. We followed Sylvester's interpretation of Plath's childhood to her marriage and birth of her children and finally to her decline and suicide. It was expertly done, and beautiful to watch. In fact, it was impossible to look away from and the way Sylvester would seemingly stare straight into your eyes, it was like you were seeing Plath's soul itself. Leaving the audience a little shell shocked. I now need to read the entirety of her poetry. And have a drink. I definitely need a drink.

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