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Solfatara review


'Solfatara' by Atresbandes


Catalan company Atresbandes brings fresh meaning to the phrase 'there are three people in this relationship'. Sharing the stage with couple Monica Almirall and Miquel Segovia (played by themselves) is an oddly threatening balaclava-wearing character who manipulates them physically, presses them to say mean things and pushes them to release their underlying relationship tensions.

'The day I was born, my mother gave birth to twins: me and my fear' says Monica at the beginning. This hooded man, played with a twitchy humour by Albert Perez, is a sort of antidote to this fear. Like a mischievous, unseen imp, he prompts the two of them to say things they feel, but would usually be too scared to vocalise.

Inevitably, their relationship unravels, from the terrible, hilarious moment Miquel shouts 'your vagina smells like puff pastry' at the beginning, right up until a disastrous dinner party with another couple, where their whole relationship falls to pieces. 

This is funny physical theatre which explores the way relationships work. The piece asks 'Who are we really?', 'Who do we want to be' and 'Can we ever really be that person?' Spoken in Spanish with unpredictable, inaccurate comedy-subtitles, Atresbandes also highlight the limit language's inherent limitations.

I wanted more though. Essentially the piece is made up of several mini-moments, which all repeat the theme. It feels as though this promising show needs more development for it to really ring true.  



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