The Scotsman 15.8.00
This wacky, original
and telling piece of physical theatre is by London based collective shunt.
The production’s take off point is the 1972 crash in the Andes of
an aeroplane chartered by an amateur Uruguayan rugby team whose survivors
resorted to cannibalism. The story became familiar as the book and film
Alive! But shunt uses it as more than just a source of macabre humour. These
inventive folk are playing with some of the more extreme possibilities of
The opening section is witty. The audience is checked in by an aggressively friendly but jittery stewardess. She ushers us into a hangar-like enclosure. Peanuts and earplugs are distributed. Then the lights go out and our precipitous descent begins. Lasting only a few minutes, the deafening stimulated crash and its aftermath are tremendously disorienting . As the lights dimly rise, we find our own way to the sidelines of a large space strewn with shredded cloth and other debris. From then on our role is more that of passive witnesses. Balanced on giant rolling wheels, a cast of five portray virtually speechless survivors. They huddle together, scrabbling for warmth and sustenance in improvised pantyhose gloves and hats. Until it short-circuits, a toaster provides some heat. A sporty ghost appears, silently offering us orange slices. A body drops from above and is enshrined behind a wall of boxes. And then, with terribly polite subtlety, it is feeding time….
The performers are all a tad anonymous, and some passages feel drawn out. But the show compensates in imagination what it might lack in crispness. Book your flight now.
Donald Hutera (Edinburgh Fringe Festival @ The Pleaseance)