Domestic Labour: A Study In Love

30 Bird

30 Bird

Summerhall

From 01 August 2014 to 23 August 2014

Rating: ***

Review by Seth Ewin

A vacuum on stage might not necessarily sound like a good thing; this show has several vacuums on stage but there is no lack of action. The three actors make great use of several antique vacuum cleaners as well as many other household appliances in this piece about male and female roles.

It is a technically very accomplished show with whirring cake-mixers and other electrical equipment strapped to the actors' heads. The actors smoothly combine different kinds of machinery on stage to create imaginative installations.

The plot centres around the relationship between an Iranian man and a western woman, though you only get to hear about snippets of their relationship. The story is quite fragmented, which can make it difficult to follow.

The three actors, though, are all very watchable and keep the audience's attention even if the plot is rather thin. There is humour and sad moments, though the play doesn't go into as dark a territory as you might assume. Most of all, though, it is a strong collaborative effort from the actors.

It is by no means solely focused on women either; the actors take on the roles of men too and give a voice to the Iranian of the play's central coupling. Even if the plot is a little elusive, there are plenty of individual moments which have great clarity and really speak to the audience.

The use of the large flat screen to show film clips is slightly awkward, although the choice of film is very good, the Joan Crawford scenes definitely adding to the show. Overall, the production was perhaps a little over-ambitious and might want to clarify the storytelling.

It is worth seeing for the performances and perhaps even more for the inventive use of a wonderful array of retro props. It should be the least dusty venue of the Fringe.