Edinburgh Festival Fringe dance review: Project HaHa, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Billy Barrett.
International touring company RemoteControl presents this devised physical theatre response to the answers given when they asked different people the question: “When we say the word happiness, what do you see, feel, hear, smell or taste?”
You’d probably have to read the programme to be aware of the show’s actual stimulus and subject matter though, as the two performers’ absurdist act throws audiences straight in at the deep end without explanation. This isn’t a problem in itself, since the collage of visual images and fragments of recorded speech is surreally compelling and often very funny; their cheeks pegged into forced smiles provide the basis for a darkly comic clowning routine, and a sequence involving lemon juice is oddly affecting. There’s a subtle critique at work here about the pressures to be – or at least appear to be – happy, and how that expectation puts a strain on public life.
However, there’s not quite enough clarity or rigorous exploration of the theme to really hook you in beyond enjoying an abstract, dream-like experience, and overall its sparseness can feel a little like a work in progress.
Summerhall (Venue 26) until 30 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 12 August 2015
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