Fringe preview: Albee Vector the Sound Collector
A magic vacuum cleaner helps audiences feel part of Greenlight Theatre's show
This article is from 2015.
Ordinarily, asking kids to help fill a vacuum cleaner leads to a series of moans and pulled faces. Not so at this entertaining Fringe show, back for the second year running. Staged by Greenlight Theatre, Albee Vector the Sound Collector is an adventurous romp, in which Albee must track down the most beautiful sound in the world, to undo a curse which turned his friend Andromeda into a crow. Along the way, our hero runs low on sounds – and that’s where we come in. Audiences are asked to create all manner of noises, which ‘Mustard’ the vacuum cleaner sucks inside him. The sounds are then played later in the show.
‘As soon as we created a character that hoovers up sounds, we knew we had to get the audience involved in making some of those sounds,’ says producer Sadie Spencer. ‘We wanted the audience, young and old, to go on Albee’s adventure with him and feel part of it.
‘It’s not always easy to do, and has taken a lot of tweaking to get it just right, but we’ve cracked it now. Sometimes it works so well that people refuse to believe it’s all live and think we’ve cheated.’
A big hit on the Free Fringe in 2014, Greenlight then accrued financial backing, allowing it to give the production an upgrade, including a re-designed Mustard who now blows smoke and bubbles. What hasn’t changed is the clever storytelling which made the show a hit in the first place.
‘We drew on various storytelling traditions,’ explains Spencer. ‘Albee is an old-fashioned bard-like character in many ways, and we are in a fairytale land with evil kings and magic spells. But the clearest influence is from Greek mythology – Albee’s adventure closely mirrors the voyage of Odysseus and Albee’s partner, Andromeda, is named after a Greek heroine.’
Albee Vector the Sound Collector, Pleasance Courtyard, 8—31 Aug (not 18), 11.10am, £8--£10 (£7--£9); Previews 5—7 Aug, 11.10am, £6