14th August 2016 at Summerhall
This show by Brokentalkers and Junk Ensemble originally attracted me as it deals with themes of grief, loss and death whilst also being intended for younger audiences. Unfortunately I was the youngest audience member at this performance so I couldn't really grasp how it would land with children and teenagers. With me, it settled uncomfortably.
The piece took the form of several, somewhat disjointed vignettes. The first of these was blackly humorous: a man in a white sheet dressed as a ghost told the story of how he died. It doesn't sound all that funny but his Irish charm and ridiculous costume added a great deal of lightness to the tale. From there onwards we got more short insights from different characters which took the forms of storytelling, dance and physical theatre. All these people were going through some kind of emotional distress but something about the presentation left me cold and without empathy.
The lack of connectivity between scenes and a great deal of deadpan talking straight out to the audience (even when they were supposed to be talking to each other) meant that I found it hard to follow and feel interested. There were some stunning visual snippets like a blindfolded boy swinging at a pinata and a choir of sheet ghosts singing happy birthday: these were powerful and pleasantly weird. My favourite section was probably the pantomime horse whose front and back halves disagree about where they're going. This little clowning skit was very funny but took a sharp, dark turn when it was revealed that the front and back were a husband and wife whose relationship was disintegrating after the loss of their son.
Bits like this gave me hope but overall I felt lost throughout this performance. There definitely could have been more development of the narrative so the audience could fully connect and sympathise with the characters on stage. I wanted to be involved but I felt excluded. It was definitely a bit pretentious and lacking raw emotion, however, I was somehow mesmerised.