Edinburgh Festival Fringe dance review: Feast, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kelly Apter.
There once was a time when eating was purely a means of survival. Now, it’s more closely linked to pleasure and, at times, a therapeutic salve. The shameful amount of excess which surrounds food, both in its creation and consumption, was the starting point for this inventive new show from Clout Theatre.
At first, we find the three performers scrabbling in the mud for the tiniest morsel to ease their hunger. Then, as we move through the centuries, the abundance arrives. A table strewn with fruit, cakes and pasta is gorged on messily; a bowl once used by the trio to carry food and water is now cleverly pulled over their heads to become Elizabethan neck ruffs.
We then flash forward to the present day, an era when plastic surgery, liposuction and body wrapping are deemed viable solutions to over-eating. Everything, as you might expect, is depicted through food: two lemon halves (representing that most natural of food sources: breasts) are injected with a custardy mixture to increase their size; the loser of a food competition has an apple shoved in his mouth (and a tomato shoved elsewhere), turning him into a human spit roast.
All of this is played out in Clout’s very particular style, which means it’s continually fascinating but not altogether accessible (watching a live endoscopy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea). There’s such an important message being conveyed here, part of me wonders if it could be delivered in a more palatable way, to reach a wider audience.
But then when you’re dealing with a subject matter already so extreme and obscene, the only way to theatricalise it is to go bigger, deeper and uglier. Which Clout most certainly do.
Zoo (Venue 124) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 22 August 2015
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