Marcel Vol. 1 – Italian Politics as a Work of Art

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (dance, physical theatre & circus:): Marcel Vol. 1 – Italian Politics as a Work of Art at the Space on North Bridge (Venue 36). Review by David Pollock

Possibly the most eclectic and sideways commemoration of the First World War at the Fringe arrives in decidedly oblique fashion with this Dadaist experiment courtesy of Italy via London’s Um Teatro.

The title is a reference to Marcel Duchamp and the creation of Dadaism as a deranging, rule-despising reaction to the carnage of the Great War, although this piece from director Irene Ros adopts and adapts the style to comment upon the contemporary fallout of the Berlusconi scandal on modern Italy.

It’s tricky to divine, but there are two stories going on here, one which tells of two women being harassed as prisoners in some freakish, warbound nightmare future; the other a surreal evocation of the Berlusconi sex scandal with an underage prostitute, using lurid verbatim transcripts from the former Italian premier’s trial.

It’s a play about feeling and emotion in the end, about the sensations whipped up by the strange tableau presented to us as eerie, gas mask-wearing creatures and human vehicles with wheels for hands maraud across the stage and a backside wearing pants printed with Berlusconi’s face “talks” to us with a tone of righteous indignation.

If a sense of confusion and worry comes over you, it’s not that much different to watching the news, really.

Until tomorrow. Today 5:40pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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