Edinburgh Festival '99: Theatre - Ridiculous beauty
FARCES: FANTASIA ASSEMBLY ROOMS
Tuesday 10 August 1999
The show takes the audience to the imaginary atmosphere of a park, picking up thematic strands from the characters there and weaving them into a lyrical tapestry. A man tries to fly a kite, a fop chases a girl through the park, an old man tends a cactus. Elliptical, slight - each story could almost be summed up in a haiku, but the cast fleshes each theme out with imaginative choreography and a range of exaggerated facial expressions. You roar with laughter, and then sit back entranced, as the quirky logic of each scene unfolds in front of you.
Much of the enchantment is enhanced by the music. Schmaltzy waltzes are superseded by the "wah wah wah" of a jazz trumpet, which in turn quietens down into the kind of chimes that suggest a world of quiet contemplation.
A highlight of the show is whenthey mime an orchestra - the girl wiggling her nose and sticking her tongue out for the flighty sound of the flute, while a man inflates his cheeks till his eyes almost turn inside out to represent the tuba.
Although the characters do not speak, each one sums up a mood. The old man has disapproval and dissatisfaction frozen on to his face, a paradigm of reclusive eccentricity. By contrast, if the fop were a cartoon, he would be drawn as a series of wavy lines, each movement a languid expression of frivolity. You build up a relationship with each, laughing with compassion as well as admiration when they perform their cleverly co-ordinated physical feats. A Fantasia that truly is "fantastic".
4.45pm, to 30 Aug, 0131-226 2428
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
- 3 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 4 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
- 5 How much sex should I be having?
The 1975 leave social-media after cryptic comic strip tweet hinting at possible break up
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Jules and Matisse used secret dog double for winning tightrope act
Netflix is testing out adverts
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Vote reveals Jules O'Dwyer beat Jamie Raven by just 2% despite using 'stunt dog double'
Britain's Got Talent final 2015: 90 viewers complain to Ofcom about Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden's 'revealing' dresses
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history