ThE­ATRE ThE CITY AND IRIS ZOO rOXy (VENUE 115) HHHHH

The Scotsman - - Fringereviews Hotshow -

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.

ROGER COX

Un­til 30 Au­gust. To­day 6:25pm.

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