- Claire Sawers
- 5 August 2019
This article is from 2019
Balletic masterwork based on life in a cult
Finnish physical theatre group Reetta Honkakoski Company presents a brilliant piece of wordless storytelling, based on the founder's own experience of a cult. Taking the role of a dictator in this balletic masterwork involving only six desks and a lot of tightly synchronised movement, Honkakoski and the rest of the all-female cast explore group behaviour, totalitarianism, human ego and toxic seduction through corporeal mime.
Watching infighting, backstabbing, sycophancy and narcissism danced out in a series of impressive robotic or rag doll sequences, while their beloved leader casts a sinister spell over them with manipulative power games, is terrifyingly well done. The subtle creep of power is put across with tiny, smug, micro movements from Honkakoski while the fear and adulation from her disciples is conveyed with precise patterns of frenzied small flicks of hands reading books, or eyes darting about in terror.
The soundtrack is minimal and tense, using simple percussion and melody to build suspense, sounding a bit like a Steve Reich score with military bugles at one point. The facial expressions, use of the wooden desks and a particularly powerful pas de deux on wheels between the leader and her uniformed lackey make this a very memorable Fringe highlight. Highly recommended.
Summerhall, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), 11.35am, £10 (£8).