Octoberfest Highlights

Review in Issue 18-1 | Spring 2006

Much of Octoberfest is under the auspices of the Scratch programme and not up for review – including Kazuko Hohki’s new collaboration with all-male comic-theatre company Brian, Wuthering Heights, Para Active’s The Cult of Scheherazade; and Mervyn Millar’s Baba Yaga. Hopefully, these will all re-appear soon as fully-fledged pieces

And talking of Scratch – it was seeing Flywheel’s hilarious and anarchic ten-minute slot at the One O’Clock Scratch at the Edinburgh Fringe 2005 that brought me to BAC to catch their Radioplay. The phrase ‘one-man tour-de-force’ is not an original one – but here it seems highly appropriate, as comic actor/musician Ed Gaughan dashes from pillar to post (or more accurately, coach-driver intercom to DJ mic) in this odd story of an overnight journey from Penzance to London, in which we also time-travel back to the halcyon days of radio. Gaughan’s performance talent is without question, the content of Radioplay meaty and the direction by Wes Williams taut. It was a good piece of theatre and an unusual one to boot. So what was missing for me? Well, nothing – other than a sense that it was a little too tamed… Radioplay is good, but I eagerly await the next Flywheel production.

In a slot which BAC called, not without justification, ‘Great Theatre’, Ridiculusmus returned for one night only with their classic Yes Yes Yes and NIE presented a trilogy of pieces inspired by true-life tales, which included the wonderful My Long Journey Home. First seen and loved two years earlier, I returned with trepidation, but was relieved to find that it was even better second time around. NIE create a contemporary interpretation of Grotowski’s Poor Theatre – no set, the simplest of props, no fancy lighting – leaving the space for performer centred physical action, music, song, and text spoken in a multitude of languages. A company to look out for.

One of the pleasures of the season was a five-minute theatre piece by site-responsive maestros Punchdrunk, presented as part of the Blink Festival of Short Theatre. Their interpretation of the claustrophobic novella The Yellow Wallpaper brought an audience of one into an intimate theatrical setting, a series of rooms in which obsessive-compulsive behaviour and the tyranny of home furnishings and domestic objects is explored. It’s a tiny theatrical masterpiece, full of mystery, tenderness and compassion. Despite (or maybe because of) the brevity of the experience, it stays with you a long time.

Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 18-1
p. 29