Absurdist comedy with a Gothic feel
This article is from 2011.
Maestros of the dark and twisted fairytale, Les Enfants Terribles (who brought us Ernest and the Pale Moon and The Terrible Infants), bring back to Edinburgh a play they debuted here in 2006. In a cell in an unnamed location a man is subjected to an interrogation, his crime unknown. His questioners exude an off-kilter menace: Samedi (Anthony Spargo) is well-dressed, well-spoken and sinisterly well-mannered; Castogan (Martyn Dempsey) is his brutish sidekick. A wickedly funny Kafka-esque trial ensues, eventually drawing the man’s wife into the accusations.
Little has changed since the 2006 production. New staging augments the atmosphere created by writer and director Oliver Lansley, a delightfully chilling Gothic noir reminiscent of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman. The persecuting double-act, bringing to mind Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, really shine with Spargo’s incarnation on Samedi the highlight of the show.
Yet the same flaws are present and as the investigation slips into a repetitive pattern the pace begins to flag. It is a small complaint about an otherwise witty, mirthful and intriguing absurdist sketch about the immutability of truth.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug (not 15 & 16), 2.35pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).