Prelude to a Number (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

Prelude to a Number

A heady mixture of poetry, patterns and musical wonder from Geddes Loom at Edinburgh Fringe

Despite its fascination with the mathematical phenomena of the ‘Golden ratio’ and Phi, patterns said by some to run throughout the mainstream conceptions of beauty, Prelude to a Number is an unmistakably human show.

In an introductory address the three-strong Geddes Loom confess that they feel like ‘a band that somehow slipped into the theatre section’. The musical performances of the company have an undeniably professional quality, with most, if not all of the piece unfolding to the richly layered soundscapes of instrument and voice.

The fascination of the patterns, structures and mathematics that lurk beneath our experience of the world drive the piece through fragments of narrative. From an inter-generational appreciation of the same drum-beat to the predictions of economic market forces, the understated sparseness of Léonie Higgins’ and Ben Mellor’s delivery weaves an intoxicating mixture of harmony and dissonance.

The heart of the piece seems to lie in the smallest details, from the company’s real time translations of Dan Steele (who ‘only speaks through the medium of music’ they tell us), to an account of the golden proportions of credit cards (‘that place where all the money is kept!). Prelude to a Number may rest heavily on the musical prowess of the band to carry the performance along, but it is loaded with a disarming charm in amidst a world of swirling numerical patterns.

Northern Stage @ King’s Hall, 0131 477 6630, until 23 Aug (not 10, 17), 2.50 pm, £11 (£8).

Prelude to a Number

  • 4 stars

Geddes Loom How do we do this? How can we make sense in the chaos when the universe won’t show us its workings? Tessa needs to find a way of holding her life together. Leon is searching for the secret that can bring him both wealth and happiness. And somewhere a maths teacher is wondering about the divine proportions of a…