Tourniquet 2013 (4 stars)

Belgian company Abattoir Fermé offer some unsettling, nightmarish sessions


This article is from 2013.

Tourniquet 2013

Tourniquet contains all the ingredients of dark European visual theatre: nudity, ritualistic behaviour, a preoccupation with the startling image over precise meaning and a fascination with taboo subjects. Here DIY exorcism forms the basis for a lengthy exploration of humanity’s mysterious sexual and social desires.

Presented by Belgian company Abattoir Fermé, Tourniquet is self-consciously slow; unfurling vignettes that revolve around three ghostly characters who swap roles in vaguely defined relationships of power and lust. Each episode is sinister and describes obscure conflicts of dominance and submission. Mixing religious symbolism, lusty desire and murderous impulses, Tourniquet hints at violent depths beneath the restrained surface of society.

Deliberately unsettling, Abattoir Fermé wants to make the flesh creep and to peel back the surface of human experience to peer at the monstrous passions beneath. While they lack the deadly focus of similar companies – such as Les Ballets C de La B – they nevertheless offer a late night session fuelled by nightmares.

Summerhall, 0845 874 3001, until 25 Aug, 11.20pm, £12 (£10).

This article is from 2013.

Tourniquet 2013

  • 4 stars

Hailed by the international theatre press as one of the year’s best performances, Tourniquet is a visually enchanting work by acclaimed Belgian company Abattoir Fermé. Without the aid of any spoken text, three ghostlike characters perform old rituals and evoke the dark history of a house. Mysterious, eerily beautiful…


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