Hot Off the Press – from Edinburgh Fringe Festival
There’s nothing like the Edinburgh Festival for a mix of shows, and a mixture of reactions.
A primal scream of a reworking of the Strindberg staple set in modern South Africa’s Eastern Cape Karoo. It’s a pitch-perfect repositioning of the action from adaptor/director Yael Farber, who brings to visceral life the complex, simmering racial and linguistic mix in this far-flung corner of an immensely uneasy “rainbow nation”.
As a spectacle, this a whooping success: guns, explosions, fire, water, a soundscape which whooshes from techno to creepy white noise via cheesy lounge music, the soldier guiding a helicopter to land with flaming sparklers, the clever use of video cameras to take us into every corner of the set, the lighting which uses neon tubes, torches, spotlights and everything in between. All great. Shakespeare, however, should not need pyrotechnics to keep an audience going for two hours without an interval.
In plumbing the depths of adolescent insecurity and modern amorality, giving it a controversial feminine slant, [Stephens] makes you sit up and watch. But absorbed though I was by his portrait of a possessive 17-year-old suffering from a deadly lack of empathy, and undisguised ego-centrism, I felt he had produced an interesting experimental piece that conveniently and cleverly saves itself the bother of trying to make you care about the characters.
there is something inert about this calculated weepie.
Find out what’s on at the Fringe.