Theatre review: Portraits in Motion
Theatre review: Portraits in Motion

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Portraits in Motion, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Susan Mansfield. ★★★ The photographic flip book (where the pages are thumbed at speed to create an impression of a moving image) is often seen as something of a party trick, but Volker Gerling has turned it into an art form. His flip …

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Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Portraits in Motion, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Susan Mansfield.

★★★

The photographic flip book (where the pages are thumbed at speed to create an impression of a moving image) is often seen as something of a party trick, but Volker Gerling has turned it into an art form. His flip books are portraits of strangers, spontaneous, evocative “moments of truth” which capture a person or scene in a way that is distinct both from portrait photography and from film.

In this show, part of the Aurora Nova programme, he has found a way to turn his flip books into a piece of theatre. In fact, it’s more of an illustrated lecture about his practice and his long walks taken in his native Germany to show his books like a modern-day peddler, accompanied by presentations – with the aid of a microscope-like device and projector – of the books themselves. As he warms to his subject, he starts to tell us anecdotes from his travels, and stories about the people whom he photographs.

Gerling is reserved, matter-of-fact, methodical, but this becomes part of the charm of this quiet show. Portraits in Motion is a welcome respite from the busyness of the Fringe.

Summerhall (Venue 26) until 30 August / listings

Published in The Scotsman on 19 August 2015

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