Saturday, August 16, 2008

Phantomysteria **

It is a common misconception that the Edinburgh Festival is filled with experimental and impenetrable Eastern European theatre. However, if you only went to one show this year and chose Phantomysteria, then that conception would probably be pretty accurate...

Performed outdoors in Edinburgh's Old College quad, this is a daring and brave attempt to bring avant-garde performance mime to an audience more used to seeing big name comedians. Unfortunately, the attempt, whilst brave, is misguided, as the pacing and left-field style of Phantomysteria is a bit wide of the mark, even for those of us that had an idea what to expect.

There are moments of style and visual impact, such as a performer barking out lines through a walkie-talkie whilst images of war and conflict are projected behind him; or fire and flames surrounding the performance area whilst bodies writhe and dance. Sadly, these moments are two few and there are two many long-drawn out parts where one character seemingly takes an age to crawl towards another. Only to crawl away again, equally slowly.

That said, this is another aspect of what the festival is all about, and if it was all stand-up comedy and the like, I wouldn't be here at all...

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