The year 2015-2016 was a big year for me, coming to Edinburgh after working in the Middle East for several years. One of the first things I did was visit the Festival Theatre, where I fell in love with modern dance (I hate dancing, so don’t switch off if you are also not a dancer). Although I intend to continue visiting the Festival, I will also be trying out other venues, for modern dance, drama, ballet and opera.
Having attended only comedy and cabaret thus far, it was finally the turn of theatre for me at the Edinburgh festival. This act intrigued because of their use of masks; three men playing several roles, without speech. The scenario also has a lot of potential: we are 'behind stage' with a father and his two sons looking after the technical side of various classical shows in ballet and opera. Such an inversion is exemplified at the end, when the three actors remove their masks and exit the stage in front of a cheering audience, disappearing excitedly behind screens and the imagined theatre we never see, in order to get their applause.
I thought this was ingenious theatre. The actors are all about physicality, and the slightly comical, slightly melancholic masks allow for dead-pan delivery in the silliest situations. This is doubly so with the soundtrack, which includes such profound pieces as adagio for strings. Meanwhile, the actors use the set to switch with bewildering versatility and skill from their three main characters to a variety of dancers, actors and musicians. On two occasions, it seemed like an actor vanished into nothing, leaving behind an empty sheet or cloak, and I found myself doubting my own reality. A surreal, mesmerizing show overall, my only regret being the leg-crushing seating arrangements.