Hearts on Fire (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

Hearts on Fire

Immersive recreation of 2009 sweat lodge deaths

The Fringe guide makes this sound like a participatory event, but it's not any more so than any other performance. It is immersive, though, with a setting inside a heated sweat lodge at the top of C's most recently commandeered venue. Recreating the scene of the deaths of the followers of self-styled motivational guru James Arthur Ray in 2009, the staging really helps to evoke the experience of that horrific event, for which Ray was found guilty on three counts of negligent homicide.

Sacrificing explanations for a sensational rendering of the event, the accomplished and engaging cast from Peculius Stage succeed in capturing the emotional complexities of those who were willing to defer their sense of self to Ray's authority but little illumination is shed on their motivations and, indeed, on whether Ray bought into his own image or was aware of his position. A captivating experience but, as interactive theatre goes, it's not enough to rival Belt Up, C's resident masters of the form.

C nova, 0845 260 1234, until 27 Aug, 4.50pm & 7.50pm, £9.50--£11.50 (£7.50--£9.50).

Hearts on Fire trailer

Hearts on Fire

  • 3 stars

In 2009, sixty devotees of motivational speaker James Arthur Ray paid him $10,000 each to join him on a spiritual retreat in his super-heated sweat lodge in the Arizona desert. He had promised to revolutionise their lives and so they never once questioned his authority, even as they lay dying. Following multiple Edinburgh…

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