EFR - Reviews of 1 Murder, 3 Corpses

1 Murder, 3 Corpses

Sat 16th – Sat 23rd August 2014

reviews

Matthew Lavender

at 01:16 on 20th Aug 2014

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It takes a great deal of courage to perform alone to an audience of no more than three people in a small, stuffy room, but unfortunately that cannot excuse the awkward and unconvincing performance of Helene Kostadinova, whose one-woman show – about a socially-awkward young woman, her housekeeper and neighbours – was a terrible struggle to watch.

At the outset, the show seemed mildly promising, with two distinctly different but equally-well portrayed characters suggesting a show that would showcase the star’s versatility, but sadly that was as good as it got.

Her depiction of each individual character was, on its own, rather questionable. It was difficult to discern the origins of her primary character, Patricia, given that her accent when in the role seemed frequently to change, and never remained consistent at any point during the production. This was also a problem when, towards the latter stages, she took on the role of a mafia gentlemen, who at some points appeared Russian and at others Italian.

A further issue lay in the fact that Kostadinova took on the role of at least seven characters at different points in the show, but only seemed capable of impersonating two or three types of personality. This led to some characters, such as the housekeeper and landlady, being so similar that is was almost impossible to tell them apart, which severely detracted from the already-disjointed flow of the story.

On top of this, the transition from one character to another was rarely smooth, which meant that on numerous occasions it took some time to determine whether she had changed character, and even longer to ascertain which character she was now portraying.

The story itself – at no point told with any conviction or verve – was at least simple enough to be able to follow in the early part of the show. However, towards the end it became much more complicated, drifted into the absurd and became, frankly, too much effort to follow. The narrative did at least show promise in the early stages, but by the end the dreadful acting and the ever-more bizarre storyline had eroded any interest the audience may have had.

It is always disheartening for the audience when a show, which shows signs of promise early on, never realises its potential, but in the case of One Murder, Three Corpses, the standard in fact declines as the show develops, to the point where any early promise becomes a distant memory. This show is, lamentably, a dismal failure.

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Rowena Henley

at 01:48 on 20th Aug 2014

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Helene Kostadinova made a valiant attempt to navigate her way through a plethora of complex issues in her one-woman show 1 Murder, 3 Corpses. This navigation, however, lost sight very early on and the show declined into a complete confusion of characters, themes and story lines.

Kostadinova’s effort to employ multi-roling within her performance was laudably aspirational. I was initially very excited by the prospect of seeing one actress take on multiple characters, as I have seen this technique be accomplished wonderfully in many pieces of theatre. Multi-roling gives the audience a chance to assess the depth and breadth of an actor’s ability. Unfortunately, our leading lady fell short of expectations. Accents were blurred, characters virtually indistinguishable and costumes changes minimal. It is fair to forgive Kostadinova for the latter mishap (as she presumably had a paralysingly small budget) but I would argue that it is up to the actor to create authenticity no matter the economics of the show and, regrettably, Kostadinova could simply not rely upon skill alone.

It could be noted that this actress took on the praiseworthy challenge of learning an hour-long monologue and executing it with only a few slipups. However, it is perhaps more noteworthy to recognise that this should be the bare minimum expected of an actor who brings himself or herself to the Fringe.

It is difficult to continue any assessment of the actress’ ability considering any performer would find herself eclipsed by this show’s incomprehensible content. From what I could gather, the basic plotline followed a socially awkward woman attempting to cover up an unintentional murder scene. This simplification, however, does not begin to cover the pitiful facets of this performance.

I can understand that Kostadinova was endeavoring to create a piece of avant-garde theatre, but I would say that it is fundamental for an audience to actually grasp the show’s concept in any way shape or form before they can understand the message being translated. My fellow reviewer and I found ourselves simply going through the motions of the play without even attempting to interpret what an earth was going on.

With a heavy heart, I implore EdFringe readers to avoid seeing this production. Helene Kostadinova is an incredibly courageous actress, but it would simply be a lie to say that she held the piece together. Kostadinova’s best bet is to go right back to the drawing board and try her hand at something entirely different next year.

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