THAT Festival @ The Macrobert
With the high-energy productions presented by Re:Location Scottish Company, MYT, and Joseph Arkley, THAT festival's triple bill reveals the freshest of Scottish youth theatre.
First, Re:Location present Fear, an adrenaline-rush of a performance which gives a face and voice to fear we experience throughout life. Although there are moments of doubt regarding the relation of the action to the message, the performance is built in layers, such that by the end, the big picture is clear.
This is a heavy contrast with MYT's comical Blushing and Incidental Moments of Pleasure, inspired by Frozen Charlotte's Blush. Short sketches are chosen to depict awkward moments in the world of dating, such as a girl who fell for her own image, and the boy who created a robot to avoid the nervousness of a first date.
The stage is then cleared for Titus, originally written by Jan Sobrie, and recently translated by Oliver Emmanuel. Performed by Joseph Arkley, on the edge of a table that doubles as a rooftop, Titus is about a ten-year-old boy with an immense imagination, who is also the vegetarian son of a butcher. He stands on the roof of his school narrating his tale. Although Titus is a very static piece, as Arkley does not move at all from the edge of table, it is nonetheless engaging, funny, thought-provoking and moving at times. Also, it highlights Arkley's ability as a storyteller, captivating his audience from the first word to the last.
ThickSkin present Boy Magnet. It follows the story of Charlie - the boy magnet, who conducts lightning whenever he touches something. His movements at first are very focused on groundwork, almost driven by contact with the floor.
Then a new character, Jessica, is thrown into the mix, and the focus shifts. They are now curious about each other; like children, they play games. Soon, their movements become quick and precise, almost like a tango - a miscalculation would end in injury. The tension rises, because Charlie refuses to be touched, but Jessica insists. The movements speed up, with admirable accuracy.
Once contact with Charlie is established, the focus shifts once more. The two figures melt into one as Jessica's life force now depends on Charlie, and contact must not be broken. Boy Magnet is an intelligently constructed piece merging physical theatre and audiovisual technology for maximum effect.