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Edinburgh Fringe 2022 Review

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Move Fast and Break Things 

Move Fast and Break Things tells the story of Amit Patel, a data scientist, who, in 2022, discovered an algorithm hidden in our data had made Google $1.7 trillion. Then, he disappeared from the face of the internet. What was the algorithm and was it the reason he dissapeared?

The search for Amit takes place in two worlds, the real and the virtual. As the lines between the two blur, the production races towards an impossible conclusion. 

Move Fast and Break Things is a theatrical deep-dive into the data-sphere, using m blovement, live video, and puppetry to tell the story of searching for the man who developed the algorithm behind “search”. 

At the heart of the narrative, we find a noticeable disagreement over ethics. Is it morally wrong to look for someone who does not want to be found? Does the moral high ground lie with those uncovering dark truths? Or are those investing simply using ethics to mask the fear of finding the truth? 

The production company Freight Theater, yet again, stayed on theme, with this production being a demented creation using Victorian Dolls, piles of sand, water tanks and instant coffee to tell its story. To begin with, Pilkington and Golding offer a brief history of data surveillance. The use of live camera work and a dollhouse result in enjoyable but somewhat unsettling visual aids. Surprisingly, the audience seems to be more engrossed by the emotional terms of the investigators’ relationship, navigating the balance of personal and public. Move Fast and Break Things felt like part one of a longer story, with many more incriminating and shocking details yet to be uncovered. 

The Smile Off Your Face

Organized by the Belgian KASK School of Arts, The Smile Of Your Face immersive experience brings into stark focus our desperation for human connection, in which blindfolded, you are taken on an emotional journey. At the heart of this performance lies an exploration of intoxicating sensorial and deeply personal experiences, exploring the mutual trust and vulnerability between the performers and the audience member. 

This 30 minute experience is somewhat lonely, but the depth of the smells and sounds, the touches, some pleasurable, others imposing, are heightened by the absence of sight. While sensory experiences are completely taken away from you, your body is controlled and whispered to, the mind ponders on fear, isolation, submission, consent, love, memories and much more. 

This was undeniably the most intimate performance I have ever experienced. Reading the comments in the guest book, as much as you cannot predict what you are going to be exposed to behind closed doors, the emotions post-performance are truly stunning. One came out smiling, and the other came out crying. 

A Little Life adaptation 

Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s best selling hit novel “A Little Life” has perfectly captivated the sentiment of friendship, trauma and despair. Those who are familiar with the novel itself will understand that no novel in the past few years has captivated and moved readers like this particular storyline.

It follows the life of four university friends’ struggles to find their identity in the years after graduating. The protagonist Jude (played by the dutch actor Ramsey Nasr who won the Louis d’Or for best male performance) embodies competing trauma, sensibility, despair and aspiration, portrayed beautifully throughout the plot. This doubtlessly brilliant sequence of grueling events is enough to make any crowd wince. 

Ballet Freedom 

For those who want to support Ukrainian communities and enjoy a hour of beautiful escapist ballet, Kyiv’s Freedom ballet is definitely the show for you. The company is celebrating its 20th anniversary by putting on the show Boudoir, a sultry lineup of high heels and systemic movements. 

The two main male protagonists were given special dispensation by Ukraine’s minister of culture in order to perform during this year’s fringe. Undoubtedly, there is a lot of visible support for this company in the auditorium, considering the fact that they are required to return home after the Fringe to fight for their country. 

During this performance, one is engrossed by the speak-easy vibe of the set as well as by the series of stories driven by violence and sex as well as by the ambiance of the centre-stage featuring a wardrobe, shower and even a place to hide corpses. 

While the choreography and stage designs were very interesting, I only came out liking it. The pervasive theme of sex annd violence left me feeling slightly uncomfortable, especially when unfolded in several somewhat unrelated stories.

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