Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Bortle 8, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott.
In A tiny room at the very top of the Counting House, we are trying to find true darkness. Sailing in the ship of writer and performer Chris Davis’s imagination, accompanied by a bubble machine and Dumbo the elephant, we go some way towards finding it – despite the room remaining drenched in light.
In our light polluted times, real darkness – which, Davis tells us, is measured on the Bortle scale – is virtually impossible to experience. However, as fascinating as this fact is, it’s almost an aside in what turns out to be a Jules Verne-esque fantasy adventure. Like a more rough-and-ready version of celebrity physicist Brian Cox, crossed with something altogether stranger, Davis views our world from a thrilling perspective – one that turns ex-girlfriends into barnacles and astronomer John Bortle into a god-like travelling companion.
His ability to conjure up a whole universe, taking us from the star-filled sky to the bottom of the ocean, all from the stark emptiness of a simple room, is a testament to his skill as a strikingly original writer and performer.
The story ends a bit suddenly, but it’s a fascinating start to a journey that could be taken further – perhaps through a transfer to Summerhall.
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House (Venue 170) until 30 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 28 August 2015
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