Titania - A Solo Cabaret

Anna-Helena McLean

Moon Fool

Summerhall

From 07 August 2015 to 30 August 2015

Rating: ****

Review by Catherine Lamm

Titania, which is listed as a solo cabaret, is the imaging of cellist/performer Anna-Helena McLean from the writings of Shakespeare, mostly of Titania from Midsummer Night’s Dream (although text from other characters surfaces).

Not only is she an accomplished cellist, she plays with a physical agility to be greatly admired the equipment that manipulates everything else, and mostly with her foot while singing and playing the cello; an awe inspiring, amazing accomplishment.

With a tap of her toe, she loops the immediate and ambient sound for her to play back and play over. The reverberation comes from these toe taps. And other effects that get past us. All the while there is someone in the booth adjusting the light and pushing the fog level.

She takes over this small space in the Summerhall which seats about 50 and looks originally to be an operating theatre. The acoustics are flawless. The lighting design and execution is precise.

She’s a beautiful woman with beautiful legs attached to these toes. Her gossamer, simple, black shift is absolutely appropriate for the production. She has not only mastered the equipment and cello but also the text and the audience.

She gets several of the men from the audience to come to the playing area to become her Bottom and Fairies. Her enthusiasm and high-energy is contagious. This is a very physical performance.

There is not a scintilla of self-consciousness in her very wild and thrilling performance. It helps, it’s almost essential, that you know the general story behind Midsummer Night’s Dream.