David Leddy's Untitled Love Story, St George's West, Edinburgh
Friday 12 August 2011
David Leddy is a Fringe institution, a writer and director who magics audiences to faraway places in his shows. Last year, he took them on a macabre midnight journey through an old Masonic lodge.
For his latest, he's moved into a conventional (or as conventional as the Fringe gets) theatre for a play about Venice, floating city of love and food, high art and high religion. Four visitors arrive by the Grand Canal – a young writer finishing her PhD on Samuel Beckett, a gay art historian, a novice priest and an art collector, who turns out to be Peggy Guggenheim. Against a billowing backdrop of Rothko red silk, their stories, spanning 1967 to 2011, are woven together to form an impressionistic city chorus.
A meditation on modernism, the narrative is fragmented with sections in which we're asked to close our eyes and meditate as the quartet coo through old-fashioned radio mikes. It's like a radio play, in fact, in that there's not an awful lot to look at. There are some clever common threads and it's competently acted. But this feels like an intellectual exercise, style over emotional substance – and there's not the slightest whiff of the Rialto about any of it.
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