ThEATRE ThE CITY AND IRIS ZOO rOXy (VENUE 115) HHHHH
BY THE final week of the Fringe, frazzled reviewers start to develop a sixth sense about certain things: the best place to get a late drink, the best place to get an early drink, exactly how long it takes to sprint from one venue to the next and – most importantly of all – which venues are most likely to deliver surprising, original shows that really get your mental juices flowing.
This year, Zoo Roxy, under the artistic direction of Rupert Thomson, has been a revelation. There’s a palpable sense that the acts here are all concerned with pushing envelopes and exploring big ideas – not in a scrappy, slapdash way, but with impressive levels of professionalism and polish, and with a bright-eyed enthusiasm that’s contagious.
Almost audibly humming with creative energy, this vibrant slice of magical realism from Jacques Lecoq-trained troupe Glass-Eye is no exception. Iris, the young woman at the centre of the story, is a controlfreakish librarian who, after being diagnosed with myopia at a child, has spent the rest of her life hiding from the world behind her thick-rimmed NHs glasses.
Reality, as she experiences it, is played out entirely by six actors. Contorting their bodies with phenomenal ingenuity, they are her bedside table, her radio, the clothes hanging in her wardrobe, the trees in the park, the ducks she refuses to share her crusts with; and, one fine day, they decide it’s time for her to snap out of her self-absorbed existence and engage properly with the things going on all around her.
In keeping with the Lecoq tradition, everything moves in this production – the actors are in perpetual motion and often there’s so much going on at the same time it’s impossible to take it all in.
They even manage to find the time – and the puff – to perform a haunting a cappella soundtrack.
Played straight, it might feel a tad pretentious, but there’s a gently mischievous sense of humour running through the piece that makes it an absolute joy.
Until 30 August. Today 6:25pm.