Breaking News

VaVaVoom

Summerhall

From 02 August 2013 to 25 August 2013

Rating: *

Review by Seth Ewin

Some magnificently made props can't quite distract from the fact that this is basically a ten-minute piece stretched out over fifty. It might also work as a piece of static art, but not as an engaging piece of theatre.

Essentially, a journey of a disembodied figure in red—to be more blunt: a red shirt—from obsessing about the news to being in the news to creating the news. The piece not only drags it also does its best to shut the audience out, including covering up most of the stage with blinds and then only using a small window in the centre for most of the action.

The first sequence involves the red shirt gorging on the news from the newspaper, radio, television, laptop and iPhone. The iPhone is rather an anomaly as otherwise the production sticks with the ancient-looking twentieth century media of print and radio. Making the piece, which could feel current, feel very dated.

The red shirt is manoeuvred by the piece's two performers for the first sequence, allowing the actors to hide behind it in a way that is contrived and awkward. This device of actors in black attempting to be invisible has now been sent up so much by sketch comedy groups, it is difficult to take it seriously in straight theatre.

In a much shorter piece, the lack of real contact or connection with the actors´╗┐, either visibly or through speech, might have been fine. Over this length of show though it leads to a real disengagement and it becomes very difficult to stay focused on the piece. Particularly as so little happens and what does happen is repetitive or slow.

Undoubtedly some of the ideas are good and the props artists very skilled, the houses popping out of the newspapers to form a city is beautiful, but the idea is then wallowed in to the extent that it becomes boring. There is also very little attempt at humour, which would also increase engagement.

If the point is to show how desensitised to the news we have become through the constant daily barrage then it succeeds, it succeeds within the first ten minutes. Personally I'd rather watch the news.