Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"On the Waterfront" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

"On the Waterfront" is one of those rare shows where it's entirely possible to forget that this is 'The Fringe' - or at least it would be if it wasn't for the dreadfully cramped legroom in Pleasance Grand. This is every bit a 'Grand' production in terms of scale and polish, however it does leave itself open to the charge of 'style over substance'. But when a show is as stylish as this I'll quite happily forego a little substance.

While the performances are all solid enough, the scale of the venue makes it an entirely different proposition from most Fringe productions and deprives the cast of the opportunity to really make an impact (at least it did in the seats three quarters of the way back) From there, only Vincenzo Nicoli as Father Barry delivered a performance that fully conveyed the depth of the dilemma facing his character.

However, as anyone who has seen the publicity for this show will know, it isn't really about the cast - it's all about Steven Berkoff's direction. And so it proves, with a direction that gives a clear identity to the show with it's mix of light and shadow, some wonderfully choreographed scenes of violence, and a wonderful moment in a pigeon loft.

Given the right venue(s) (not too big, not too small) this show will have a very good run in London and on tour.

On The Waterfront has completed its run at the Pleasance Grand
Image used with permission