Richard Gadd’s Monkey See, Monkey do at Summerhall: Review, Edinburgh Fringe


rg_richard_gadd_ed2016.jpg

I was taking no risks seeing this.  Voted the hit of last year’s Fringe Gadd has toured the world performing it over 200 times.

what I was not prepared for was its kick in the heart emotional trauma.

This is billed as comedy but it’s so much more than that. (But, yes, it’s outrageously funny.)

The ‘more’ is an entire treatise on sexual abuse and the resultant depression.

The monkey of the title is Gadd’s subconscious creating massive panic attacks and extreme self doubt.  The show is a metaphor about running away from money demons (the monkey on your back) and so, to bring that metaphor to life Gadd performs it from a tread mill and his vest top gradually saturates as his one hour run slowly overwhelms him physically.

But the low-fi technical brilliance of the show with his sound and video designer, Phil, is what makes it so original and ultimately extremely moving.

My wife is not one to demonstrate her emotions by way of leading a standing ovation.

Until last night.

Bravo.

Bravo indeed Richard Gadd.

*****

Nederlands Dans Theater: Review Edinburgh Festival


Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 14.43.50.png

Quite the most extraordinary hour and a half of dance I have ever seen in my life.  To say this is challenging is to completely dismiss the technical and creative excellence on show here.

Three roughly half hour pieces begins with ‘Shoot the moon’  a bizarre love triangle (of 5 dancer) in a revolving set comprised of three rooms where not only do the dancers spin the stage around but hidden cameramen also project extreme close ups of their performances into two screens above the set.  It’s quite brilliant technically and the dancing is superb.  A beautiful accompaniment by Philip Glass.

Part two, The Missing Door, is the highlight in which we witness an Escherian horror movie being created to a soundscape that’s jagged and tormented. David Lynch would love it.  And it’s as much theatre as dance.  I was blown away.  Literally: because at one stage a huge tornado engulfs the set.  The twitchy stuttering dance is bewildering and completely engrossing.  One of the dancers in a green dress is literally thrown about the stage as if she was a rag doll.

Part three (stop-Motion) is set to an achingly beautiful Max Richter piece and features a gorgeous film of a darkly dressed lady observing the actions below before transforming into a hawk, and oh, what actions.  on a white set we do not realise that half the surface is coated in chalkdust until the floor is gather into the middle and a large pile of dust is then used to create stunning clouds of white ‘smoke’.  It’s gorgeous and the choreography is perhaps a little more familiar in its style than its predecessors.  It is no less brilliant fort that.