Past Half Remembered SKINNYFEST 1

Article by Matt Trueman | 14 Aug 2006
Romantic comedy isn't generally a genre associated with early 20th century
Russian history, but the company of NiE manage it beautifully. The
relationship between Maria, an eighty year old grandmother, and Noam, a
young soldier, pressed-ganged into the army by his father, is also as
genuinely touching as any to be found on the Fringe.

Past Half Remembered is a triumph of story-telling; combining the
narratorial magic and lambent atmosphere of Amelie (thanks in the main to
David Pagan's score) with clowning that would be quite at home in the comedy
listings. Whether on the rooftops warding off Nazis or engulfed in the
cluttered flat of Maria's ghoulishly over-caring family, cinematic mental
backdrops conjure themselves around the utterly convincing characters. Yet
thos characters are sculpted - almost through trial and error - before our
eyes by the incredibly likeable cast, providing plenty of laughs in the
story's unfolding.

At times the show slows slightly too much and the electic mix of missed or
unattempted accents takes an edge off the piece. However, director Alex Byrne and designer Katerina Houskova have crammed the show with the beauty of theatrical craft - the final image of Maria dancing softly in the snow deserved the standing ovation on its own merits. Not to mention brilliance of the stuffing of over 15 digestives in an actor's mouth.