Theatre Edible, The Bound Man

Review in Issue 9-4 | Winter 1997

This was a show of many parts which did not really come together as a whole. Whilst aiming to convey the mixture of absurdism and grotesque of the original story, the work did not focus the energy and elements into a totality. Thus characters would emerge from the set in visually striking ways, but then not realise the further theatrical potential of the set. Two disembodied heads were the storytellers but became simply an audience for the images, not a chorus or commentary. Many of the images became theatrical clichés as we followed the life and exploitation of the bound man; his role as metaphor for the human condition became rather obvious as a sort of diluted Artaudian confrontation – clowns and children as symbols of human cruelty, grotesqueness and nightmare. The movement was unfocused, lacking any physical or gestural vocabulary, again undermining the existential confrontation of the story.

The exception was the playing of the bound man; voiceless but expressing in movement and gesture the bewilderment and poignancy of the innocent in an alienating world. The best moments came as the frantic and unfocused energy suddenly halted as the bound man and his physical echo held the stage space with stillness and silence, the setting framing an image of totality and completeness as stillness and silence were allowed to speak. Two powerful and wonderful moments that reinforced for me the unrealised potential of the rest of the show.

Presenting Artists
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Issue 9-4
p. 22