Lula del Ray by Manual Cinema
- Eddie Harrison
- 5 August 2017
A mother and daughter's bond is tested in a dreamy shadow-puppet play
Chicago-based performance collective Manual Cinema (who brought last year's Fringe hit, Ada/Ava) create big screen entertainment – but they do it live. The action unfolds on two planes; the interaction of shadow-puppets and silhouettes takes place onscreen, while off-screen the audience are allowed to peek behind the scenes and see the creative process unfold, as the crew line up the images on overhead projectors and musicians play.
It's a bold and original way to present a story. Lula Del Rey may have a delicate, fragile narrative, but it's always fascinating to watch not just the tale, but how it's told.
There's a dash of the late playwright Sam Shepard about Lula's situation. She's a young woman growing up with her mother in the remote American south west. A shared interest in space and rockets bonds them together, but Lula has girlish dreams of a wider world, and picks up on the attractive music and image of a boy band called the Baden Brothers. Rejecting parental authority, headstrong Lula heads into the big city to pursue her idols at a live concert, testing her relationship with her mother.
This is an ambitious story with considerable nuance, and it's remarkable that Manual Cinema manage to convey such depth through simple means. The entire piece is dialogue free, and the lo-fi images tell the story in an ingenious way that even children will find it accessible. With live music in a Roy Orbison style, Lula's heartbreaking story should work for dreamers of all ages.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 28 Aug (not 14), 4.30pm, £12.50--£14 (£11.50--£13).