Tales from a House of No Windows (2 stars)

Why you definitely shouldn't get stuck in a lift

comments (3)

This article is from 2010.

Tales from a House of No Windows

'Prepare to be bewildered' warns the Fringe programme entry for the show from Alchemy Troupe. Never have truer words been written. In this circular, opaque tale about missing bodies and erotic fixation, the actors from London's Goldsmiths College offer up a typically bamboozling piece of student theatre.

Three individuals - a gentleman (or so we're led to believe), a floozy and a stiff-neck with severe anxiety - find themselves trapped in an apartment block elevator, wondering what happened to the vanished woman who was living in flat 7F. All that remains of her is a stench of fish and rotting animal meat, and the suspicion grows that something terrible has happened. Through a combination of dance, music, song and multimedia projection, the characters are unfolded via their memories, desires and obsessions as they head towards a final confrontation with the missing tenant.

The show has its moments - not least with a sprightly cabaret sex number that's delivered with plenty of oomph - and the rising dread surrounding events is effectively conveyed through a skeletal, darkened set and haunting keyboard accompaniment. But the individual performances are not quite big or expressive enough to render the story with real force and clarity.

Expect to be left feeling dazed and not a little confused.

Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters, 0131 622 6801, until 29 August (not 20), 3.45pm, free

This article is from 2010.

Tales from a House of No Windows

  • 2 stars

A haunting compendium of original performances. Three chapters intertwine, using live music, movement and multimedia to tell stories ranging from the tragic to the ludicrous. 'Cog-By-Cog': the clock ticks wrong in an experiment, exposing the mechanics of performance and investigating themes of marriage and…

Comments

1. Anna Best19 Aug 2010, 1:38pm4 stars Tales from a House of No Windows Report

Few free theatre productions can boast the professionalism and attention to detail that I witnessed during the second installment of Alchemy Troupe's dramatic compendium, 'Tales from a House of No Windows.' As one chapter within the overall production, 'Scratching' tells the story of - and yes it is as strange as it sounds - an uncomfortable odour and its effect upon three strangers who share a block of flats. Skeletons lurk in every closet in this weird and witty take on the modern gothic story, told beautifully through Douglas Williams' poetic script. Movement, music and multimedia create an alluring theatrical synthesis which left the audience spellbound during its pacey 50 minutes of action and text.

If I were to make any criticism about the piece, it would be that at times I was confused with the plot direction. Having said that, the red herrings and trapdoors only furthered my desire to engage with the story and experience more of the bizarre and beautiful world created on stage. Keep an eye out for the third installment, 'A Peculiar River' (21st-29th August). I know I will.

2. Anna Best19 Aug 2010, 1:43pm4 stars Tales from a House of No Windows Report

Few free theatre productions can boast the professionalism and attention to detail that I witnessed during the second installment of Alchemy Troupe's dramatic compendium, 'Tales from a House of No Windows.' As one chapter within the overall production, 'Scratching' tells the story of - and yes it is as strange as it sounds - an uncomfortable odour and its effect upon three strangers who share a block of flats. Skeletons lurk in every closet in this weird and witty take on the modern gothic story, told beautifully through Douglas Williams' poetic script. Movement, music and multimedia create an alluring theatrical synthesis which left the audience spellbound during its pacey 50 minutes of action and text.

If I were to make any criticism about the piece, it would be that at times I was confused with the plot direction. Having said that, the red herrings and trapdoors only furthered my desire to engage with the story and experience more of the bizarre and beautiful world created on stage. Keep an eye out for the third installment, 'A Peculiar River' (21st-29th August). I know I will

3. Amy Letman19 Aug 2010, 1:55pm5 stars Tales from a House of No Windows Report

Applause all round to this exciting troupe of performers from Goldsmiths. So refreshing to see students creating new, invigorating and experimental work outside the boundaries of the Drama and Theatre Arts course. Thrilling, erotic and poetic; Scratching weaves words, movement, music and visuals to create a disturbing and entrancing hour-long thriller. The text, written in rhyme by Douglas Williams, depicts the story of what might be a woman, or what might be merely an uncomfortable smell, in a block of apartment flats, and the haunting encounters that its residents have with this otherworldly beast that resides in flat 7F. A weird, dystopian take on living in close proximity to strangers and the secrets that they bare. Beautifully interwoven. Very slick. Superb performances from an ensemble who, quite literally, bare all. Expect more from Alchemy Troupe at Goldsmiths in the near future.

Post a comment
RSS feed of these comments