A disappointing production of a promising play about ecological disaster.
FellSwoop theatre's last Edinburgh show was the booze-soaked ‘Ablutions’ about the unhappy world of a drunken, down-and-out bartender in LA. The Bristol-based company's fringe offering this year is an altogether more sober affair.
'Current Location' is about ecological disaster. It was originally written by Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada in response to the aftermath of the nuclear cataclysm at Fukushima and is here adapted by the company. It’s an oblique play which follows a group of friends in a small village that is being troubled by strange environmental happenings – the appearance of a bright blue cloud prompts some to say the end of the village nigh. As rumours keep spreading and the lake begins to dry up, the friends – lead by one determined woman – battle to stop the village from feeding on paranoia and fear. But in the process they become guilty of some pretty nasty things.
FellSwoop's production is low-key, slow and disappointing. Though the script is full of surreal, atmospheric suggestion, all that is lost in the staging. There’s no atmosphere in the bright, day-lit Dissection Room in Summerhall and often the actors huddle at the front of the stage where their dialogue is lost. The speech is naturalistic – so much so that you think they might be improvising – but as such it doesn’t catch us, doesn’t draw us in and makes us feel disconnected from the piece. It’s hard to work out exactly what is happening to the village, and actually it’s hard to care.
It’s a pity, as the source material is relevant and could be worked into something special. But it needs a better production that this to fill its potential.