Edinburgh Fringe Series: 'Scenes from an Urban Gothic'

Edinburgh Fringe Series: 'Scenes from an Urban Gothic'

Mime is no easy feat. To mime for a whole performance, alone, and to hold an audience is an even greater one. Yet, James Cross does exactly that, moving around the stage with no aid other than a little music and lighting, occupying a minimalistic set with just a white backdrop and a black floor.

Cross himself is a bit of a wonder. Dressed as a typical city commuter, his movement is fluid and perfectly in sync with the music, his own sound effects accurate and consistent. His facial expressions are vivid, active and enacting the worlds conjured up by Des Truscott (Director) and James Cross himself, creating a piece of physical theatre which is quite unlike anything I have seen before.

He reminds me of a real-life stick man, or some kind of Tim Burton cartoon; apparently the rules of real life do not apply to him, as he is completely defiant towards the rules of gravity which the rest of us humans have to obey. At one point, he somehow manages to be dragged across the floor by one foot – pulled along by nothing but his own ability to glide. Is this man real? Is he human? Does he have functioning joints?

Described in their programme, as an ‘increasingly nightmarish world’, Cross certainly put us in his perspective and shows us exactly how bewildering – and surreal – the city can be to a newcomer. It is truly engrossing – even if a large amount of the time I am trying to figuring out exactly what scene he is enacting at that precise moment. Every scene has some peculiar, nightmarish features, as Cross’s character is forever out of his depth, pushed around by the invisible people accompanying him on stage, mocked by children in the street and altogether, quite dysfunctional in urban life.

There is no obvious plot, but this is an abstract piece which is entertaining through its acting methods alone. There are also a lot of very odd moments – such as an invisible cat which is thrown with gusto from scene– which adds to the randomness of the performance. Whilst some comedy is attempted, it is only successful in part since the foolishness of Cross is consistent and repetitive. It is difficult to laugh at the same thing over and over again.

Even so, if you would like to explore the quirkier edges of the Fringe, go to this show; even if just to watch open-mouthed at the perfection of the choreography and to explore the eventualities of being a stranger in the monstrous metropolis, rather than the conventional joys of a plot.

***

Kate Nicholson

Original Post: http://edfringereview.com/r/V2bGGSokRje87HVrXDx6yg