Theatre Review: Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools, The Studio, Edinburgh

Inuk artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and theatre-maker Evalyn Parry deliver an environmental, anti-colonial klaxon-call.

Inuit performer Laakkuluk rages against colonial attitudes. Picture: Jeremy Mimnaugh

Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools, The Studio, Edinburgh ****

Images of a world cracking and shifting beneath our feet are ever-present around this year’s Edinburgh Festival, and there are no people on earth to whom that sense of instability and change is more real than the Inuit people of the far north, whose icy world is now melting around them, and who have already faced a fight to survive during two centuries of aggressive colonisation from the south.

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For the most part, over almost two hours, the conversation is conducted in gentle, amicable style, although with a hard edge of meaning and history symbolised by Laakkaluk’s twin half-moon knives, whose sharp edge or face – Kiinalik – enables survival in the north.


There is a disturbing ten-minute sequence, though, in which she offers us a glimpse of the roaring, mocking, rowdy, aggressive and undefeated female energy of northern women that also makes their survival possible and briefly shakes her Edinburgh audience to the core with a vision of the sheer rage against colonial attitudes that seems set to be one of the dominant themes of the You Are Here Season, and of this year’s Festival and Fringe.

Until today