Planet Lem

Teatr Biuro Podrozy

Old College Quad

From 05 August 2012 to 26 August 2012

Rating: ***

Review by Graeme Strachan

A risky method of returning to the Fringe Festival after having a critical success is to come back with several shows at once. All credit to Teatr Biuro Podrozy for their own particular brand of hugely physical outdoor theatre with a smattering of pyrotechnics, moveable props and smokework.

In Planet Lem, the action is based around a clever homage to the famed Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem and his own particular brand of tragic and doom-riddled futurescapes.

The action revolves around a single heroic space adventurer who, after an explosive opening battle against giant stilt-wearing Giger-esque alien soldiers, gets a note from the future begging him for help. In this barren and strange future, he finds a machine world filled with mutated, virtual-reality-addicted human work-slaves and robot overlords, controlled by a giant AI.

It's a pleasing combination of nods to 60s sci-fi and a wonderful use of simple but effective movable props and actors in various costumes. Given that many will not be familiar with Lem's work, it's difficult to recommend universally despite the wonder of the spectacle. The overall result of Planet Lem is exciting yet ultimately unsatisfying.