EFR - Reviews of Uninvited

Uninvited

Fri 10th – Sat 25th August 2012

reviews

Claire Dalling

at 23:52 on 11th Aug 2012

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I cannot say that I enjoyed ‘Uninvited’. I cannot even say that I understood it. I did, however, appreciate it…or, at least, I think I did, because this is the kind of play that leaves you feeling decidedly shaken and unsure of anything.

The provocatively named Fat Git Theatre have adapted Peter Mortimer’s novella themselves and this seems to be testament to the brave and pioneering spirit of the company. The concept is deceivingly simple on paper: a man returns home to find a silent stranger in his living room. Over the next few days he becomes increasingly distressed and uncomfortable within his own house and mind. His situation isn’t helped by the fact that there are three creatures living in his wallpaper, giving a narration on his life and being generally antagonistic. Add to this a Madeira cake baking, bird feeding love interest and two unhelpful but believable police officers, and it becomes immediately clear that this is modern absurdism. At least, I think it is. As I said, I’m still really confused.

Josh Goulding leads a flawless cast of young talents whose constant focus and energy make this an incredibly intense experience. His own performance is particularly striking and he manages to command the stage and engage the audience without saying a word. We feel compelled to pity him, yet he never becomes wholly pathetic. Edward Davis, Emma Jane Denly and Kate Pearse also deserve special mention as the wallpaper people for the simple fact that they do not let their faces relax for a second and are not afraid to make awkward eye contact with the audience.

For me, the most exciting thing about ‘Uninvited’ is the sound effects which are produced from behind the set using modest household objects. Completely original and deliciously simple, this gives the production a professional edge. Josh Roche’s direction is of a similarly impressive standard: it seems that every movement has a contextual purpose.

So, the acting was good, as was the direction, the show was aesthetically pleasing and the sound effects innovative, yet ‘Uninvited’ only earns three stars. Like the plot itself, this is a strong production in theory, but I couldn’t help feeling that something was missing. Absurdist plays are not meant to be understood, but there are just too many unknowns in this equation, and the result is both distracting and frustrating. The costumes, for example, were by far the best I have seen at the Fringe, but I still can’t think of any explanation for their bizarre shape and padding. I applaud Fat Git Theatre for undertaking this challenge, but I cant help but feel that their talents would have better showcased in, dare I say it, a more conventional play.

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Emma Yandle

at 09:09 on 12th Aug 2012

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Fat Git Theatre’s ‘Uninvited’ makes you think about what theatre is: what does it need to tell you and what can it just present to still be good? It’s a funny little play, adapted by the company from the novella by Peter Mortimer, of a man whose whole world is in his house when suddenly it is turned upside down by a whistling intruder. All this is observed and sometimes commented on by the three bulging creatures who live in his wallpaper, The Bouffons. At once darkly funny and quietly poignant it's a very refreshing and intriguing piece of theatre.

The man of the house jumps out of bed to start his meticulously planned morning routine. Watching, we gather that he can’t see The Bouffons, although they’re very intrigued by him, wistfully overlooking his actions, curiously smiling or wordlessly communicating with each other. For all he is oblivious to them, they are active participants in the scene and with very limited speech. Actors Edward Davis, Emma Jane Denly and Kate Pearse subtly evolve into distinct personalities largely due to their wonderfully expressive faces. Then there’s the intruder that the members of the house can see, but no one outside, and of course we can see everything. It’s as if two scenes are going on at once and it’s very clever, both making you more aware of the man’s solitary existence and yet giving his world more importance.

The quality of the production was very high with a beautifully simple set, animated in the strangest ways. This was matched by a score that used the strangest of tools to wonderful effect, with a mug, a jam jar and even a cheese grater being used to make music you’d never believe came from kitchen utensils.

Josh Goulding as the main character was excellent, depicting a man who has obsessively created his own reality only to have it violated in the most basic of ways. His personal epiphany by the end goes unnoticed by the play and you're left wondering about what you've seen, where he ended and his animated apartment began.

Although I left feeling oddly upbeat, the more I thought it over it was actually an incredibly astute way of visualizing a man's breakdown. A surreal, sweet and sad look into a life that is at once vivid and terribly small, it's the sort of theatre you want to see at the Fringe and I'd definitely recommend booking a ticket.

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