Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools @ The Studio

A theatrical, interactive and spiritual experience connecting climate's past and present history while challenging the audience to face themselves

Review by Mirren Wilson | 07 Aug 2019
  • Kiinalik

After a chance encounter meeting on an environmental expedition, two performers from opposite ends of Canada form a friendship and share a life-changing journey. As part of the Edinburgh International Festival, presented by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Kiinlalik: These Sharp Tools opens up a dialogue about the connection to the climate's past and present history while challenging the audience to face themselves.

Evalyn Parry is an award-winning feminist theatre-maker based in Toronto and Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory is a Greenlandic actor-musician and storyteller, based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. As friends they begin the performance by inviting you to be entirely yourself. They emphasise that theatre is a safe space for all where you can do whatever you need to do. Part-gig and part-conversation, the piece covers colonisation, climate change, personal history and self-discovery. Using a variety of mixed media, it’s a visual spectacle as you travel the world while getting to know this fascinating duo.

The music is very much another character in this piece. Cris Derksen’s cellist melodies underscore and reflect the action with elemental power while Parry’s Scottish heritage shines as she shares her old folk songs.

Bathory’s heritage of performance is unlike anything that’s typically seen in Scotland. Trained in uaajeerneq – Greenlandic mask dance – she explores the audience with an elemental and animalistic energy that is not only compelling but exhilarating. It’s a full-body sensory experience for both the performer and the audience that’s rich in sexual exploration, fear and empowerment – not for the faint-hearted.

Interested in the people in the room, you are invited to connect with your fellow audience members as they pose the questions of “What does the North mean to you?" and “How far North have you been?” It’s easy to forget that theatre is a shared experience. This show is a rare gem that breaks barriers of spectatorship and encourages us to empower ourselves by connecting to our own history but also to open up a conversation to another’s. Let the conversations continue.

Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools, The Studio Edinburgh International Festival, 2-5 Aug run ended