Best of the Fest

DAISY CUMMINS discusses her pick of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival with The Tab


Macbeth: Who is that Bloodied Man?

‘Known worldwide for their stunning Carmen Funebre, Fringe First winners Biuro Podrozy return with a visually captivating interpretation of Macbeth.’

**** FringeGuru ‘it won’t be to everyone’s taste.’

**** Scotsman ‘more an experience than a piece of theatre.’

Undoubtedly, the most outgoing performance of a Shakespeare I have yet seen. This Polish company strip away the language to the reveal the bare bones of the plot – character, motivation and mental turmoil. Visually and aurally spectacular, with veiled Arabs on stilts, motorbikes, fire, rolling severed heads and a classical haunting soundtrack, it was a performance to remember.

 

Belt Up Theatre’s Outland

‘A magical but ultimately bittersweet story inspired by the life and work of Lewis Carroll. Step into a world of childhood dreams and meet a host of weird and wonderful characters who will guide you deep into the imagined worlds you have forgotten.’

***** BritishTheatreGuide ‘must see production’

***** Broadway Baby ‘Fantastical, fanciful, enchanting.’

This production sees the audience follow loveable characters through Outland, the beautiful land of children’s imaginations, into the brutal, disappointing world of adulthood. Lewis Carroll’s famous works weave into the fabric of this performance alongside threads of his insanity, his purist love, his dearest friends, and of course his genius. Performed in a playroom, the actors’ conviction is stunning, drawing the audience into the action, ironically making the illusionary feel very real indeed.

Hearts on Fire

‘Based on a true story, and set in a uniquely claustrophobic sweat lodge installation.’

***** Fringe Guru ‘an example of verbatim theatre gone right.’

**** Broadway Baby ‘a truly immersive experience’

In the stifling sweat room, there is no escape from James Ray’s enticing charisma (played by Nigel Barber). The life guru’s classroom – of which the audience are literally and emotionally inside – feels ominous, and yet, like his character (based on a real story), we lose our rationality in the heat. Drawing into his conviction alongside the other characters, the horror of the emerging situation is before us but, like James, we do not want to believe it.

Were you at this year’s Fringe Festival? Do you agree? Or have a different top 3 performances? Get in touch at drama@durhamtab.co.uk