Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Mitch’s Movie Pitches, reviewed by The Scotsman’s David Pollock
Imagine this: a house in the Hollywood hills. A family home, with Julia Roberts and Aaron Eckhart as the mom and dad. Imagine the house ablaze, and these people are “so rich they have no concept of harm”, so they retire to their home cinema and watch a movie until they burn. A tasteful new movie in black and white starring Ryan Gosling and Jennifer Lawrence, but it’s the ingénue vintage Jennifer Lawrence from Winter’s Bone. She’s going to be the first actor to win a Best Actress Oscar for appearing in a film within a short film.
These aren’t spoilers, by the way. The films don’t really matter, not so much as the retelling of their increasingly fantastical plots by Mitch the wannabe writer/director, aka London-based actor Eric Sigmundsson, who narrates in ever more animated style, as if he were pitching to a room full of studio execs or perhaps just imagining doing so in his own mind. He tells of “Homophobe Clause”, a heart-warming seasonal treat where Santa overcomes his hatred of gay people, and a far-future coming of age space opera involving the terror on the other side of black holes and a liquid spaceship played by Scarlett Johansson.
The scenarios he paints are compellingly original, but it’s in the way Sigmundsson embodies his stories that they’re elevated to the next level. His manner completely owns what he’s saying; he coaxes and compels through humour, tenderness and pathos, looping vocal beats and notes (his voice is lovely) with a foot pedal to create a tenderly eerie soundtrack.
At one point, snapping out a cane and stumbling across the floor, he affects the jerking dance of a blind tightrope walker falling to their death, a striking moment from a show which wears its love of classic cinema and great storytelling proudly on its sleeve.
Summerhall (Venue 26), until 29 August, 2pm / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 15 August 2015
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