"I think we've lost the ability to just be human with each other...and we've lost a way of even talking about what's going on in our country that needs fixing as a collective body. And so that's part of the reason why I think this kind of work is still important." — Leigh Fondakowski
This week’s roundup of investigative, immersive and interactive theater shines the spotlight on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. And it’s a big one, featuring a whopping nine shows. As always, these aren’t endorsements, as we’ve not personally seen everything. It’s our way of keeping you in the loop about all the fun work happening this year at Edinburgh.
Group: Flipping the Bird
By Phoebe Eclair-Powell
With Jess Mabel Jones
Girl. Woman. Mother. Bitch. Lady. Vixen. Virgin. Whore. We’re all told we’re looking for something. Part of ourselves is missing. Somewhere we fall short. Not political enough, not skinny enough, not sexy enough, not brave enough. The search is over. Stop looking. Part gig, part refracted and reflecting stories, Torch explores what it means to be a woman. From Flipping the Bird (‘clever, creepily melodramatic, beautifully realized’, Times on Jekyll and Hyde), collaborating with Channel 4 playwright Phoebe Eclair-Powell (‘whip-smart, chokingly funny and thoroughly entertaining’, Guardian on Wink), and performed by Jess Mabel Jones of Backstage in Biscuit Land.
Created by John Burrows
Group: The Giftgiver Co-op
Take a better look at the streets of Edinburgh with this smartphone-driven piece of interactive theater. You represent The Giftgivers, a bespoke courier service making anniversaries special and connecting loved ones in long-distance relationships. The Giftgiver Cooperative’s aim is simple: make people smile. Made up of a group of warm-hearted individuals taking on deliveries that traditional couriers won’t do, possibly due to non-physical addresses or the desire to profit. Created by John Burrows, Zombie Captain of The Generation of Z (Edinburgh 2014, London 2015), Delivery #16 invites you to make an intimate love story possible.
‘We want social housing, not social cleansing.’ Facing skyrocketing rent and forced relocation out of London, 29 single mothers united to confront Newham Council’s gentrification of their hometown. From the streets of Newham to the Houses of Parliament, this bold and pertinent piece of documentary theatre is adapted from the real-life testimonies of the most under-represented and prominent voices on the political spectrum – providing a truthful retelling of the Focus E15 Campaign, Britain’s housing crisis and how one group of women refused to be marginalised. This is the beginning of the end of the housing crisis.
Group: Not Too Tame
Not Too Tame return to Edinburgh with an award-winning immersive theatrical experience in a real pub. After a sell-out UK tour, they’re back amongst the regulars at the Jinglin’ Geordie for tales of love, loss, laughter, drunken dancing, and a pub quiz. A celebration of community and pub culture, Early Doors is site specific and has all the great qualities of a gig: uplifting, unpretentious, and with a bevvy in hand! Drown your sorrows or charge your glasses, but grab a pint, take a seat and get a load of this!
Group: Not Too Tame
Brand new site-specific production from the award-winning Not Too Tame. A group of misfits take over a disused building, but when taking on the man, are they heading for the mother of all hangovers? Not so much hippies, hoodies and placards, but raves, glow sticks and UV war paint. After a sell-out run during their last visit to the Fringe, NTT are back, and invite you to a celebration of what it means to make a stand and find comfort in being part of a something. Relentlessly upbeat and unpredictable, this is party theatre at its best!
Group: Theater for Justice
A new verbatim play based on the experiences of an Eritrean refugee. Taken from an interview conducted in the Calais Jungle on 21st December 2015, Still Here documents the journey of a man as he fled persecution for his faith, and the journey of the British girl who interviewed him. Cast and creatives from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School present this powerful piece of new work, set in a site-specific space – The Tent
“All Might Seem Good”
Group: Bear Pit Theatre
Veronica and William eat lunch on the same bench in the same park every day. But never at the same time. Until today. This is a play about luck. Or coincidence. Or fate. Or God. Or just things that happen. It’s not simple. Everyone has a story of outrageous fortune to share, and armed with a rabble of these verbatim accounts, Bear Pit weave tales of farcical mishap and heartbreaking happenstance, as two lunchtime adversaries try to sort the banal from the miraculous and make sense of the web of chance which defines our lives.
Group: At Large Theatre Company
Frank, a sensitive loner, is haunted by the memories of his past. Driven by an urge to overcome these, he avails of the private cross-dressing services of Beryl. As their stories unfold, both characters must unmask themselves before the other and the true purpose of their meeting becomes clear. As both characters face painful truths about their desires and fears, a final revelation brings their conflicting energies to a dangerous point until there can only be space for one inside Beryl’s rundown bedsit.
“Blood Will Have Blood”
Intense, interactive, audio-immersive show for 12 people only! After Banquo’s murder, his son Fleance is adrift in Macbeth’s brutal new Scotland. As the audience listens to his tale, he/they are taken under the wing of the strange woman who lives on the heath. Under her guidance, they bury their father, clean the houses of dead traitors, discover a prophecy and learn to fight. Shakespeare’s world of power and trauma developed into a disorienting interactive performance.
‘The best immersive theatre I’ve seen in a very long time.’ ***** (Everything Theatre on Wyrd)