Every other year I go to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh with my mum (and I used to go by myself before that), as one of the passions we share is theatre/performing arts, and there’s no better place to indulge that than at the Fringe. I feel extremely grateful that I am allowed to just be here and soak up the atmosphere, and see so many interesting performances every time. I don’t know what Edinburgh is normally like as I’ve only ever been here with the Fringe on, but it is no doubt a gorgeous city any time of the year. And during the Fringe it is transformed into a wellspring of creativity and inspiration, with performances going on at hundreds of different venues across the city.
When I looked at the program just for the 3,5 days we’re going to be here there were still thousands (!) of performances to choose from. Encompassing everything from stand-up and spoken word to musicals to new writing and classical theatre, circus, puppetry and more. Amazing, but also slightly daunting. After almost a week of intensely studying the program and the venue locations and mapping various routes I eventually managed to narrow it down to 12 shows. Still ambitious, but hopefully doable.
We arrived late yesterday afternoon and so had just about enough time for one show last night, after settling into our rented flat a little outside the city.
Gone Rogue Productions put on a fun and creative adaptation of H. G. Wells’ s The Time Machine. I remember reading this novella 10+ years ago and being utterly fascinated. The story is basically about a man who invents a time machine. He travels 800,000 years into the future and finds the world a very different place. Humans have split into two different races: the friendly and beautiful but not very bright Eloi live a life of leisure, but danger lurks in the shadows. At night, the strong and terrifying Morlock race come out and hunt the Eloi. H. G. Wells’s story not only gives us a fascinating picture of what time travel and the future could be like, but it’s also a thought provoking tale about how we as the human race could end up if class separation continues, and the gap between the people serving and those being served continues to grow.
This theatrical adaptation was a fast-paced, whirlwind adventure with lots of physical theatre, immersive sound effects and very creative use of scenography and the stage. It’s light and fun but also engaging. And the Morlock costumes were brilliantly terrifying. I will say that they may have overused their main “shtick” a little as some of the physical theatre could have been cut out in favour of refining and perfecting it in places where it really added to the performance. And The Traveller could learn to enunciate a little better – he talked very quickly and excitedly most of the time and it was sometimes hard to catch what he was saying.
But overall a thoroughly enjoyable performance well worth watching.