Happy Hour, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh * * * *
These are the qualities that have won Europe-wide recognition for the Italian playwright and theatre-maker Cristian Ceresoli, since his first play La Merda burst on to the Edinburgh Fringe seven year ago; and this year, his company Frida Kahlo Productions – backed by a range of producers in Italy, Denmark and the UK – returns to the Fringe with a lurid two-hander set in a dystopian near future saturated in junk consumerism and internet surveillance, where an authoritarian government controls just about everything.
The two main characters, played with huge energy and chutzpah by Silvia Gallerano and Stefano Cenci, are a young brother and sister whose family circumstances take a sudden turn for the better when their father – or perhaps their mother – is briefly smiled upon by the authorities.
In Simon Boberg’s production, all this is powerfully conveyed not only through Ceresoli’s text, but also through Stefano Piro’s frenetic Italian-urban soundscape, based on the song Caracal by DJ Blue Cat, and through some memorable lighting shifts, on a simple set shaped like a cockpit.
The final effect is desperate and chilling, a fierce commentary on a society spinning helplessly towards barbarism; but it also blazes with the kind of poetic and theatrical energy that leaves audiences not depressed, but exhilarated and empowered.
Until 26 August