A Cloud In Trousers, Underbelly, Edinburgh
Friday 22 August 2008
A slight figure, face whitened, carrying a suitcase, saunters onto the small stage. This is A Girl in a Suit, as Samantha Bloom (sister of Orlando) describes her one-woman company. Her show is a monologue – a lyrical adaptation of words by the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.
Though popular in the early cultural climate of the Soviet Union, Mayakovsky became disillusioned with Stalin's regime and – after several complicated love affairs and having been castigated for his efforts as a propagandisti agitator – he committed suicide in 1930.
In this tale, in which Bloom plays a man in a suit, a jilted lover bares his innermost soul as he rehearses the showdown he intends to have. We glimpse his bumpy path through a lifetime of unsatisfactory affairs and relationships, touching on art, religion and revolution, in his search for happiness.
Striking a mannish pose with a chair, Bloom just about carries off the creation of characters from thin air. The cellist had to withdraw for personal reasons, mid-run, and one can imagine the soulful string accompaniment that would have added another dimension to the spoken text.
But the gamine Bloom manages to convey this emotional journey, seen from a male perspective, with sensitivity, while touching on borders of mental and emotional extremity tempered with some dark humour.
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