Search

Theatre review: Palimpsest One at Upstairs at the Gatehouse (Camden Fringe)

18:34 03 August 2012

The Beekeeper

The Beekeeper's Wife, one of the short stories in Palimpsest One at Upstairs at the Gatehouse. Photo by Peter Corkhill

Archant

Four short plays crammed into one hour in Camden Fringe Festival production

»Part of the Camden Festival Fringe, Palimpsest One is a presentation of four short plays over one hour.

Two plays are extended monologues played to a silent interlocutor. August Strindberg’s The Stronger shows all the hallmarks of the Swedish writer’s obsession with the human soul.

Mrs X meets Miss Y for hot chocolate and reveals that she knows her young friend is having an affair with her husband.

Both women appear trapped by their love for this unseen man and we are left with little hope for either’s future happiness.

In Ross Howard’s Frisky & The Panda Man a zoo-keeper is in love with his panda and waxes lyrical to a reporter on the subject, whilst his beloved panda is choking to death, unbeknownst to him, in the background. Kevin Hand gives a strong performance and lifts Howard’s words off the page with ease.

The third play is an excerpt from Yugoslavian writer Mima Vulovic’s Medea Pastiche, which throws themes at the audience about the ‘deepening amnesia of modern life’ and how childbirth makes women finally dominant over men – but at what cost?

Finally, The Bee-Keeper’s Wife by Afsaneh Gray is a charming and near-perfect short-play. It is A Doll’s House for a modern audience and translates Ibsen’s house-wife Nora into a woman whose husband ties her to a chair and tells her she is mentally ill to stop her leaving the house. Wonderfully performed and acutely observed, it was worth the trip to Highgate for these fresh 15 theatrical minutes.

Palimpsest One proves that short plays aren’t about lazy writers or economically-minded producers. Rather, it’s about the fine art of economy of language and conciseness combined with big ideas. This is at its most successful when the directors and actors understand that they are not in a two hour play and thus attack the piece with energy, specificity and boldness. This didn’t happen with every piece, but there is enough here to pass an entertaining hour.

* Palimpsest One was at Upstairs at the Gatehouse as part of the Camden Fringe Festival.

0 comments

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Yesterday, 15:57
Marco Polo: An Untold Love Story at the Shaw Theatre

The Philippines and UK celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations, and the Shaw Thearre’s Marco Polo charts the explorers journey

Thu, 17:00
Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special leather outfit.

Despite not growing up with Elvis on her musical radar, Zoey Goto has devoted the past two and a half years to finding out about his style

Thu, 16:15
Brass (Copywright: National Youth Theatre)

The National Youth Theatre’s production Brass at the Hackney Empire, tells of a brass band who sign up, and the women they leave behind.

Thu, 16:06
War Dogs. Picture: Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Jonah Hill and Miles Teller star in War Dogs, a black comedy about two gunrunners who made a fortune procuring weapons for the US military

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read entertainment

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now