Ensonglopedia of Science
4 Words: Quirky, Irreverent, Uber-Intelligent, Touching
John Hinton sets out his stall with little ambiguity: his show is a progression of songs that follow the letters of the alphabet. Each letter corresponds to a scientific term or concept. Thus we travel, from atoms to zero. Adding to the mix, Hinton ensures that each song is either in a musical style which begins with the same letter as the scientific concept, or played on an instrument which, you guessed it, begins with said letter. Because this is awesome, Hinton actually invites us to play a game in which we try and guess these musical congruences, even providing pencils and a chart to fill in as we go. Results are tallied at the end. Did we mention: this is awesome. The show’s motor is Hinton’s incredible intelligence, exuberance, and the sheer breadth of his creativity. It ultimately becomes the project’s flaw as well—trying to cram this breadth of information into 20+ consecutive forms becomes something of a battle of attrition and a race against time. Moments for breath, reflection and context are infrequent, and it is no surprise that the show’s most touching moments come when Hinton takes the time to relate the material back to his own life, particularly the birth of his daughter. Nonetheless, the show abounds with Hinton’s trademark charm, intelligence, and musical panache.
– S. Turner
15:00 @ Gilded Balloon at the Museum (Venue 64)
The Elephant in the Room
4 words: Energetic, Slick, Mythic, Embodied
Yuki Ellias is a truly talented (and extremely slick) performer. Her technical ability is simply breathtaking, and this solo show foregrounds a unique combination of Indian and Western performance traditions. Ellias’ presence, physicality and immediacy draws you into her world of Indian myth. Ganesh has had a tough life. His father, the god Shiva, lopped off his head. The boy’s mother found this a bit much, so Shiva gave him an elephant’s head instead. The boy is less than happy with his new head, and sets off in search of the old one. The adventure forces the demi-God, and by extension the audience, to consider human chauvinism in the natural world. (Where, after all, did his baby elephant head come from?). The style remains solidly mythic, and, due to an overemphatic score, sometimes overly so, though Ellias is more than happy to break the tone with comic, stylised and fully embodied characterisations. The different characters Ganesh encounters on his journey drive the dynamic shifts in the storytelling. While each character contains a unique energy, rhythm and physicality, we did reach a moment where we wanted more from the narrative than a re-telling. Still, did we mention Ellias is a phenomenal performer? Words can’t quite do justice to her precision, detail and movement. One of the best physical performances we’ve seen at the fringe.
– S. Turner
18:26 @ Assembly Rooms (venue 20)