Light (4 stars)

This article is from 2014


Photo: Alex Brenner

Theatre Ad Infinitum's spectacular Edinburgh Festival Fringe show is inspired by surveillance scandals

This is one of Theatre Ad Infinitum's best shows yet. Their most recent Fringe hits, the multi-award winning Translunar Paradise (2011) and Ballad of the Burning Star (2013), were slickly choreographed but in Light, the group achieve with mime and strategic lighting what some Hollywood blockbusters fail to do with a multi-million dollar budget.

It takes place in total darkness. Rather than conventional lighting, LED torches are used by the actors to illuminate each scene. We're presented with an extreme vision of the future: the state can now read people's thoughts and manipulate their minds. An agent is sent to hunt citizens who try to 'disconnect' – and one day, he encounters a figure from his shadowy past.

Inspired by a dream that director George Mann had ten years ago and given new impetus by the recent surveillance scandals, Light feels apposite. Yet it's far enough removed from today that it's easy to avoid the political overtones and simply enjoy the story too. Mann and his co-artistic directors at Ad Infinitum are students of the Jaques Lecoq school in Paris and their training shows. They're so light on their feet that each new scene surprises. There's some striking imagery too, with reference points ranging from dystopian classics Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World to masterpieces of psychological cinema like Terry Gilliam's Brazil. Together with the almost Whovian live soundscape, expertly performed by Mann, it's a captivating performance.

The narrative could be leaner and the silent film-style projected text is occasionally difficult to read amid the many lighting changes. But visually, Light is highly accomplished and quite spectacular.

Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 11, 18), 5.15pm, £10–£13 (£8.50–£12).


  • 4 stars

A story of love, betrayal, and technological power set in a dystopian future inspired by Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations.