Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"How it Ended" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

"How it Ended" caused much confusion when it was originally suggested to us in the Comments on our Fringe Preview. We quite liked the sound of it but didn't remember seeing it in the Programme. Then we realised it was in the Dance & Physical Theatre section - and we never read that. And having now seen the show I can officially declare that it was clearly placed in the wrong section. You see, I actually quite liked it and that couldn't possibly have happened if it really was Dance & Physical Theatre.

You Need Me's tale of a young Welsh woman who meets a French trainee pilot during the Second World War isn't exactly a fun piece of theatre. But there is plenty of joy to be found from it. The writer and cast make the relationships between the characters utterly believable and it makes for compelling viewing.

The Dance elements are fairly limited and I'm sure there are many shows using this much more extensively who have slipped their way into the Theatre section. There are some fine moments - the way the baby takes form is magical to watch - but there are also problems with the show. In a tight space with limited raking, the decision to stage a number of scenes with characters sitting or lying on the floor is an appalling error - to the extent that I'd estimate about 60% of the audience were unable to see considerable sections of the piece. So if you're going to catch this make sure you sit in the front row.

But even with a restricted view it was clear I was watching a production of genuine quality and I guess we'll have an extra 12 or so pages of the Fringe Programme to wade through next year.

And thanks to Roger for bringing the show to our attention

How it Ended runs at C Cubed at 9.15pm until 25th August

3 Heckles

Anonymous said...

I directed the piece and just want to make it clear that it was not an 'appalling error' to have certain scenes on the floor. We had no idea what on earth the venue would be like until we arrived, and had to make do with what we got. In our original production everything was visible at all times, but as there are virtually no spaces at all in the round in Edinburgh it was impossible to find a space that would work perfectly. We've already had to remove 5 seats and pay for them every night to avoid an even worse situation. Believe me, it wasn't carelessness - we did everything we could, and we can only apologise to people who couldn't see sections of it.
By the way, if anyone knows of any spaces in the round for next year with better visibility, please let me know!

Statler said...

Hi Emily,

I'm afraid makeshift venues are an unavoidable problem for companies and audiences alike at the Fringe but the combination of seating and direction was particularly unfortunate here. Given the care and attention obvious from the production I was disappointed you were unable to find a creative solution to the difficulties the venue posed either by raising the 'bed' off the floor, presenting it vertically (cast standing wrapped in duvet/sheet) or some other method of bringing the scenes into view.

As for alternative venues - you are right about a lack of true in-the-round spaces but there are many that are fully developed on three sides - the Monkey House @ The Zoo being particularly suitable or The Space @ Venue 45.

Best wishes for your future plans for the show

Anonymous said...

Emily, this is far after the end of the fringe and so i doubt you will see this but I was searching for your company online and i wanted to add to the feedback. I was able to see all the show and must tell you I was blown away by it. It was one of the best pieces of theatre I've scene. I am currently a third year Drama and Theatre studies student at Royal Holloway University of London and would love to find out more about the comapany. If anyone can help with any contact information I would be very grateful.