Part philosophical discussion, part theatrical experiment, this must be one of the most ambitious shows at this year’s Fringe.
Star rating: ****
Venue: C nova (Venue 145)
It’s performed by a different actor each day, who reads from a script they’ve never seen before, along with a volunteer from the audience, who responds to questions in this script.
Written by Alexander Wright for The Flanagan Collective, it describes a meeting with a mathematician, called Tom Smith, and details his theory that free will is an illusion since every decision we make is informed by our past experiences.
The review day’s actor is Holly Beasley-Garrigan, who, with script in hand, is understandably looking a little apprehensive, and audience member Chris who volunteers because he “thought it would be a bit awkward if no-one else did”. And since the experiment is based on “kissing” – in particular recreating the performer’s supposed first kiss – it’s an especially brave decision.
A few years ago at the Fringe, it seemed like you couldn’t spend a day seeing shows without being “invited” (or told) to snog one of the performers. It’s also on the cards here, however Holly constantly tells Chris it’s a choice he can make. And so, Chris has the potential to say no – or even shake things up with a “randomised” action (which Smith’s theory also covers), such as dancing around the stage or well… anything. Unfortunately, he simply follows the script, and he is kissing Holly before a ten-to-one countdown has got to eight.
It would be interesting to see what a performer seemingly tied to a script would do with an audience member who decided to do something different. Hopefully more will try. The whole thing might fall apart. It might be challenging for the cast. But it would be a really fascinating conclusion to a piece that is, after all, questioning the idea that we are able to think and act for ourselves.
Until 29 August. Today 4:55pm.