This is a cleverly written show, with a wonderful vocalist providing an added layer to the production - much like a game-maker controlling the situation. This character opens the show beautifully with her vocals, masterfully pouring sand in a circle around the ‘asleep’ actors on stage. It reminded me very much of A Midsummer Nights Dream.
The two actors then ‘awake’ and find each other present, and start to explore the space - establishing that they are caught in a dome, with some good mime work. They embark on an emotional and physical tussle as they navigate the words and spirit in this story built on all the relationship based lines of Shakespeare’s work - plays, poems and sonnets.
It is quite a physical piece for the actors. They move about the space a lot, sometimes at odds, and sometimes cuddled up together. There is plenty of good expression and body language from the performers to support the conveyance of the words and meaning, which is useful because it seems to hang on a back and forth about who loves the other in a prolonged argument.
The simple lighting is used well throughout the piece and adds to the emotion; but then the very loud aircon generator (I assume) continues to disturb and detract which is a shame. This detraction compounds the issue of trying to follow the story, which quickly gets confusing with all it’s back and forth within the lines. There are good components but the flow is not always present and at times the transition is so seamless that you’ve really got to think consciously about what the next piece is a depiction of.
The play has promise, the performers were all good, but you will need an appreciation for Shakespearean text to get the most from it, and more can be done to signpost the audience and provide a comprehensive journey over the hour.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, 6.30pm until the 17th: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/last-life-a-shakespeare-play