Cut @ Underbelly, George Square

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Photograph: 'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC

Verdict: Recommended Show

Genre: Drama

Venue: Underbelly, George Square (Site Specific)

Company: Underbelly Productions

Lowdown

Part installation, part theatre poem, part noir thriller

Review

Site specific show Cut brings something a little bit different to Edinburgh Fringe this year, taken into an airplane style set-up the air hostess gives instructions and provides a safe-word for those who may need to leave creating a foreboding atmosphere before plunging the room into absolute darkness. The tense music teamed with the total dark gives a wonderful sense of danger and suspense that is aided by the lighting and sound techniques used which are intercut with segments of more darkness.

Depicting a woman’s daily routine as she prepares for work using stark language builds up a feeling of interest and mystery, while showing her at work as an air hostess while also portraying scenes that show her inner thoughts is brilliantly done. Her fear and paranoia is infectious as she is followed home however this is where it begins to tail off slightly.

To begin with it is all very well constructed and creates great tension and excitement, sequences of minimal lighting to highlight only the performer’s face or figure, intercut with sequences of total dark, and sequences of full lighting builds great atmosphere. The script builds on the tension and has a deep sense of foreboding that is reiterated by the performing of it which is well executed. However as the performance plays out it seems the content is not strong enough to sustain it, once it is realised that there is nothing else to the performance other than the woman’s story the tension dissipates and it becomes slightly tedious, once that tension is lost the audience is too as theres not enough else within the performance.

Given a space to be able to use total darkness and construct a sensory performance such as this gives limitless possibilities that I feel were possibly wasted here, there are many opportunities to build paranoia and fear within the audience at every turn yet the script alone becomes relied upon to build up the tension which is just not quite strong enough to do so. Building up layers of sound and lighting techniques towards an end goal would help sustain the atmosphere, as would working on the ending of the script and of the performance.

Cut has huge potential and contains all of the elements to achieve what it sets out to but it all falls slightly flat in the end leaving a shallow piece that could have been so much richer. A well thought out idea that just fails to hit the mark however Cut is something quite unique and worth experiencing.

This review originally appeared on FringeReview and is reproduced in partnership with their permission.

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Christine Lawler 42 Articles
Christine has a passion for literature and has been a closeted writer since childhood. Other passions include theatre, film, and all things geeky. She lives in Glasgow with a cat named Molls and a tortoise named Haruki Kabuki.

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