- Donald Hutera
- 9 August 2018
This article is from 2018
Finnish mask and object theatre that fails to heat up the blood
There is an actual sauna out the front of Summerhall, operating for just a couple of hours in the evening and with a capacity for five people at a time. A visit there might well be more rewarding than this slow-burn piece of wordless mask and object theatre from Finland that never truly sparks into life.
Created by the Helsinki-based Teatteri Metamorfoosi, the show focuses on an elderly woman sitting in a sauna essentially waiting to die. But then a sauna spirit materialises, triggering memories in the old lady that lead her back to life.
It's a fairly simple, low-key but promising premise. Cast members Ilka Hartikainen and Johanna Kultala are encased in some pretty convincingly stylised body suits, with skinny, low-hanging, breasts for the old woman and love handles for the more buxom spirit creature. The production's physical set-up is potentially pretty charming too, with three platforms arranged centre-stage and, off to the side, a third performer, Riina Tikkanen, who provides nice live sound effects (creaks, scrapes, bell-tones, water drips and the like).
But the theatre space itself isn't conducive to the kind of gentle intimacy for which the show strives. The addition of dim lighting, a slow pace and the overall lack of drive means this sauna fails to gather steam.
Summerhall, until 26 Aug (not 20), 5.25pm, £10 (£8).