Caucasian Chalk Circle @ Zoo
One puppet and many humans go back to the Brecht
Brecht would surely be chuffed with this tight little performance of The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Outside the venue, queuing just ahead of the spectators, the young cast seemed like overly made up inmates of the Edinburgh Dungeon who had strayed too far south.
Any apprehensions due to the slightly shaky start, with a couple of obtrusive scene changes and weak singing, soon disappeared. Things quickly settled down into a sharp retelling of the ways of the world. The fresh and versatile troupe from the University of Birmingham gave a convincing series of snapshots of civil war, brutality, love and loyalty, as the servant girl Grusha flees to protect the baby abandoned by her mistress, the governor`s wife.
Grusha`s epic journey over the mountains culminates in the court scene with Azdak who devises the test of the Chalk Circle to reveal who loves the child most. The wonderfully sonorous jazz tones of story`s narrator, The Singer, a combination of Lady Gaga and Marlene Dietrich and of the lead character Grusha were exceptional but it would be superficial to single out the dramatic performance of any of the actors.
All of the actors did well in their multiple roles and shone when it was their turn for centre stage. A vibrant, successful, and well paced show which reminds us of our `more funerals than weddings` life but with just enough laughs and light to help us cope with it.
The Caucasian Chalk Circle (3BUGS) Zoo, 6- 30 August, 6.30pm, £7.50http://www.zoofestival.co.uk