Out of Water (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

*1Out of Water

Magical seaside evocation by Helen Paris and Caroline Wright, part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It's 6.30am. The Shipping Forecast plays through our headphones as we walk across Portobello beach to a group of mysterious figures waving and pointing out into the water, gently lit by the pinkish dawn sun. Music and narration in our ears merge with the wash of waves and cries of gulls; later we're gently taken by hand to the water's edge; and the inevitable attraction of the waves finally proves too strong for several of the performers.

Deceptively slight, and undeniably poetic, Out of Water is a dream-like creation combining music, words and movement on drowning, childbirth, the challenges of singing and souls lost at sea. There's a rigour and steely core, though, to Helen Paris and Caroline Wright's evocative yet sometimes opaque work, and a sense of inevitability to its strange unfolding events, avoiding any feeling of whimsy. Jocelyn Pook's radiantly simple music, although at times sounding worryingly close to Philip Glass, provides space for reflection as well as driving things forward, and the 30-strong troupe of actors and singers invite us warmly and convincingly into their strange reality. It may ultimately feel quite elusive, but it's never less than gracefully lyrical, and its unforgettable closing image manages to be both magical and terrifying.

Summerhall @ Portobello Beach, 226 0000, until 10 Aug, 6.30am & 8.30pm, £10 (£8).

Out of Water

Out of Water

  • 4 stars

Helen Paris and Caroline Wright / Escalator East to Edinburgh The singers are out of breath. The swimmers are out of their depth. At sunrise and sunset, for three days only, a captivating spectacle will emerge on Edinburgh’s beach. Singers and swimmers strike out towards the water’s edge looking out intently, searching…