Lexical Lunacy

REVIEW: ‘The Woman and the Canvas’ by Theatre Re and Fourth Monkey

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Another show now sadly finished due to shorter run that it deserved, The Woman and the Canvas was nothing short of mesmerising. 

I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen something so visually stunning at the Fringe or seen choreography employed to such devastatingly emotional effect. Great choreography is one thing, but there’s ‘choreography’ and then there’s “CHORE. OGRA. PHY.”. The group of performers act like a single cohesive organism, each person knowing exactly their place, who they are as individual, and what part they play as a piece of the larger whole. I’ve described choreography as “flawless” before but this was flawless on an entirely new level I never expected I’d see at the Fringe. So much is going on at once that it can be hard to take in but what you do manage to take in is spectacular. The fact that each of the thirty-one cast members has a distinct character that they have meticulously crafted for themselves and remain in that character throughout the piece is part of what makes so beautifully intricate. 

Captivating though this group’s command of physical theatre is, it is only one half of what makes The Woman and the Canvas so powerful and beautiful a piece. The other half is the original score, which is the some of the most haunting, soul-aching music I’ve heard in a long, long time. It adds an extra layer to the already stellar movement and acting that makes proceedings that much more ethereal and entrancing. The final musical moments of that performance are still echoing in my soul almost a week later.

One of the most sublimely beautiful things I’ve ever seen at the Edinburgh Fringe. The only reason this review is relatively short, is that I can only use language so far to describe how moving, arresting, and transportative this piece was. True art and a true masterpiece, I just wish it was still on now, and I would see it any number of further times. 

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