Grid Iron, Those Eyes, That Mouth

Review in Issue 15-3 | Autumn 2003

An empty house – the exposed plaster, bare floorboards and echoes creating a space ‘suspended in time’, in the words of director Ben Harrison. Enter the audience… We hear a constantly ringing telephone and the sound of running feet. We meet an occupant, a young woman haunted by the face in Vermeer’s Portrait of a Girl with Pearl Earring, an image that appears chalked to the floor and deconstructed into cut-out eyes and mouths.

Later, we meet a man. Is he husband, lover or brief encounter? He seems to be a shifting figment of her imagination: the one great love of her life yet simultaneously all the men she has known, a projection of her every hope, dream and fear. He sings to her with melancholy tenderness, they dance a tango down the staircase. His accordion becomes the very breath of the house, the almost soundless bellows expanding and shrinking like lungs. Sometimes she interacts with him – other times she seems not to know he is there. But it is more complicated than that, for who is ‘she’ anyway? The many faces of Eve manifest as either schizophrenic real-life occupant or shapeshifting ghost – depending on whether you want to take a psychological or metaphysical interpretation.

The piece is structured with precision: every word, sound and image building up a tapestry of ideas about loss and loneliness, passion and obsession. The performers are wonderful – the multi-faceted woman played by gamine Cait Davis and her foil, the enigmatic ‘other’, is soulful musician David Paul Jones. The only downer is the over-zealous stewarding that breaks the natural flow of the piece: a familiar problem – how to herd people around effortlessly. That aside, Grid Iron’s production was the jewel of this year’s Fringe… If they are performing next year, book early!

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32 Abercromby Place

Date Seen
  1. Aug 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-3
p. 22