Counting Sheep

Mark and Marichka Marczyk

Lemon Bucket Orkestra in association with Aurora Nova and Hot Feat Canada

Summerhall @ The King's Hall

From 03 August 2016 to 28 August 2016

Rating: *****

Review by Keith Mckenna

There are two ways you can experience Mark and Marichka Marczyk’s epic recreation in Edinburgh of scenes from the Ukrainian Revolution of 2014. You can watch Counting Sheep from upstairs at the King's Hall, or you can join the revolutionary events downstairs.

Ukraine’s tragedy is to sit at the crossroads of two great competing forces. To the west are the creeping expansionist designs of the European Union. To the east are the paranoid fears of Putin’s Russia. Both forces stirred up internal allegiances that were to explode into a civil war. But before that came the revolution of the young, the inspiration for this show.

Initially we sit at long tables, listening to Ukrainian folk music and eating bowls of food. Above us on three sides are huge screens on which appear the news footage that corresponds to the theatrical action.

It shows the wealth and corruption of President Viktor Yanukovych and his decision to have closer ties with Russia instead of signing a free trade agreement with Europe.

This generates the protests which quickly turn into clashes with armed and ruthless police who drive us to the back of the hall.

Lights go off and then flicker on to show us various tableaux of conflict. At times, we build barricades, chuck bricks, and pass out helmets in this cleverly choreographed production.

With the downfall of the government of Yanukovych, we mourn the casualties and celebrate our victory with plates of food, dancing and singing. However, that is not the end of the story. In a final poignant scene, the young revolutionaries put on military uniform to fight in the civil war.

The show is an exciting, interactive event with many striking visual scenes. At times it resembles a stylised party accompanied by music the company has described as Balkan gypsy, punk.

You won’t learn much about the political conflict and you may even disagree with the revolution depicted but you will certainly enjoy being part of this dramatic recreation.