Erewhon

Arthur Meek, music by Eve Prouse, based on the novel by Samuel Butler
Arthur Meek and Magnetic North
Summerhall
to

Based on an 1872 novel of the same name, Erewhon is a curious warning from history on the dangers of technology and daring to be different.

Arthur Meek welcomes the audience as himself, encouraging the use of phones, chatting about his introduction to the magic lantern and even live-streaming the show on Facebook. All changes, however, when he carefully puts on his explorers' hat and becomes Lord Erewhon.

The character narrates his adventure in a strange land, one he attempts to colonise but fails completely. It’s a tale of love, loss, imperialism and a smattering or racism too. Meek is clear, however, this is all from the perspective of 1872 Lord Erewhon.

Lively and animated, Meek is a charismatic performer drawing the audience into this strange new world. The inclusion of the magic lantern images (all created by modern-day artists in the old style) function well as a backdrop to the story and equally well as individual pieces of beautiful mini art.

Eva Prowse’s music underscores beautifully, almost always present but never intrusive. In turns ethereal, menacing and at times melancholy, it adds a depth to the show, crucial to creating the science fiction based atmosphere.

This Victorian adventure is an exciting yarn but also a scathing comment on colonialism and modern man’s reliance on technology. The combination of magic lantern, music and storytelling give the audience plenty to focus on and enjoy.

Amy Yorston