Review: Histoire d’Amour

This is the first of two shows I’ll be reviewing from the Edinburgh International Festival.

histoiredamour

EIF RUN: 15/8-18/8; King’s Theatre; 19:30 [£12-£30]

Where and When: King’s Theatre; Thursday 15th August 2013; 7.30pm

The Show

This show is literally like nothing I have seen before. The stage is set up with a large screen, on which a projection is shown, as though the audience is going to watch a film. However, once the titles have rolled, a live actor appears on stage, surrounded by a projected animated set drawn in the style of a graphic novel. The story proceeds to unfurl with only two actors interacting and moving within their film surroundings. I think the closest things I have seen prior to this are films like Mary Poppins and Bednobs and Broomsticks which have portions of film with live actors in animated sections. This was, however, a far cry from Disney.

The plot, titled “A Love Story”, is really the story of an obsession, more than romance. The monochrome graphic novel projections, and the virtually monologue script create a Film Noir effect that only darkens an already deeply disturbing and twisted story that does not have a happy ending. I found myself spell-bound (or should that be curse-bound?) by the dark but uncomplicated plot, though I know for others it was really too depressing, or did not give enough background to the characters.

The Cast

There is nothing I can criticise about the cast. The chorography of this show is demanding and challenging, with sets flying around the characters. Neither Julián Marras nor Bernardita Montero put a foot out of place, using projected props with absolute precision. Julián Marras is virtually the only character to speak, as he narrates the story in a way which leaves you feeling that we are not so very far away from evil as we would hope. Although his character’s acts are horrific, his inner monologue shared with the audience gives a disturbing insight into how easy it is to justify such behaviour. Bernardita Montero plays the virtually silent victim, and the play raises some important challenges about the nature of consent, and the implications of silence.

Overall

This was a dark and disturbing play, which would not be suitable for all audiences (there is a substantial amount of strong and explicit language and depictions of sexual violence) – it is harrowing to watch even as it is gripping. I adored Teatrocinema’s innovative form of blended theatre, and this alone is worth seeing. Definitely one of the best things I’ve seen all festival season.

Rating ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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