Teatro Sunil, Icaro / Lazzi, Lazzi-Limbo

Review in Issue 15-3 | Autumn 2003

I am placing these shows together as Daniele Finzi Pasca (writer, director and performer, Teatro Sunil) and David WW Johnstone (writer, director and performer, Lazzi) are both 'men of a certain age' who have a wealth of experience in clown, mime and physical theatre and a huge talent for storytelling. Both choose to adopt an intense, philosophical and melancholic clown persona and each, like all true clowns, has a transparency in his performance that allows the real-life person and the adopted character to sit openly together in one body, giving an intensity and poignancy to the witness' experience,

First Icaro, in which we have an ingenious use of the story within the story theatrical device. Pasca starts in front of the curtains explaining that he will be retelling a tale that was told to him, and that this telling of the tale heart-to-heart to just one person would need recreating. An audience member is chosen and escorted away. When the curtain rises we see a room in an asylum, with our storyteller in one bed, his 'audience’ in the other. The Icarus myth has been a recurrent artistic motif throughout the ages – from Bruegel to Brazil – and the desire to fly has often been used as a metaphor for escape from imprisonment or terror. In Icaro, this desire is enacted so tenderly, with such sadness and humour, that the only possible response is laughter mingled with tears. A gem of a show in the Fringe's predominantly brash and brassy programme.

Lazzi's Limbo is a character who walks the streets in a world of his own, adrift: examining his shoes, waving his hands delicately in the air, or stopping still for minutes at a time to gaze at what appears to be nothing at all. Once a day, Limbo gathers up a group of people at the Golden Fountain in Princes St Gardens and leads them away from the ice-cream kiosks and carousels across a little bridge in order to ‘meet a tree’. We hear that this story was written long ago – although I say without regret it isn't written yet and we float with him along the streams of time and space that take in Melville's Moby Dick, Arthurian legend and Ben Okri's Famished Road. Despite the heat, he is dressed in a raincoat and bowler hat and of course is singled out by the passing youth of Edinburgh as a weirdo. He pauses in the telling of his tales of kings and quests and invisible beasts to gaze with sad understanding at the boys. Such is the world, the gaze seems to say... and they back away with one final taunt. Limbo's world is that of the 'other' – the shadows, the whispers, the thoughts in the dark, the dreams in the daylight. This is a lovely little street show that would make a welcome addition to any festival's programme, with its engaging mix of poetic text and gentle clowning that succeeds in its aim to portray the 'soulful within the comic'.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue

Princes St Gardens

Date Seen
  1. Aug 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-3
p. 22