Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: Crying out Loud presents l’Après-midi d’un Foehn – Version 1 at Summerhall (Venue 26), reviewed by Kelly Apter
At first, it’s like watching an art programme on television – albeit a slightly strange one. Dressed in a long dark overcoat and woolly hat, a man kneels down on the stage next to two carrier bags. Out come a pair of scissors and roll of Sellotape, as he snips, sticks and folds the plastic into something new.
It’s impossible to tell at first what his creation will be – but when he finally holds it up, a small “ahh” ripples around the audience. Welcome to the world of Company Non Nova, and quite possibly the most unique show at this year’s Fringe.
Inspired by Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (Afternoon of a Faun), to which Nijinsky created a controversial ballet work in 1912, this new version features a different kind of “dancer” – and cleverly changes the word “faune” to “foehn” – a type of wind.
Because wind has a crucial role to play here, generated by six fans positioned around the space. One by one, they are turned on, and that plastic creation made at the start of the show begins to take on a life of its own.
The artist is now a “ballet master”, releasing more and more colourful ballerinas into the air – all fashioned from ordinary, everyday carrier bags. It’s a sight to behold, as the wide eyes and bright smiles around the room readily testify.
It would take a more scientific mind than mine to explain how the bags float gracefully through the air one minute, then gather around a central point – their master, his umbrella – the next.
Watching them dance playfully, I began to think of the bags as children – which was definitely inadvisable. For in a moment of anger, desperate to cull his new invention before it gets out of hand, the master rips them to shreds. So think of them as exactly what they are – plastic bags to share a brief, beautiful moment in time with.
MORE INFO: Crying out Loud presents l’Après-midi d’un Foehn – Version 1 at Summerhall (Venue 26) until 25 August
Originally published in The Scotsman