Theatre review: My Love Lies Frozen in the Ice, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

In 1897, three Swedes, led by adventurer Salomon Andree, set off in a hydrogen balloon in a highly public attempt to become the first men to reach the North Pole

Dead Rabbits' new work is a little muddled

My Love Lies Frozen in the Ice, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh * * *

Their eccentric but ill-prepared expedition, from which no one returned, has caught the imagination of physical theatre company Dead Rabbits.

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To help the story along, they add the character of Matilda Andree, Salomon’s sister and the fiancee of fellow adventurer, Nils Strindberg, ditched unceremoniously from the voyage at the last minute for being, well, female. Thirty-three years later in a Stockholm psychiatric hospital, where she is subjected to a variety of harsh experiments, Matilda still believes she can save the others.

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The Dead Rabbits apply a wide range of physical theatre techniques to the story, and the production is visually stunning, with billowing white fabric used to conjure everything from arctic wastes to storm-tossed oceans and even a wedding dress.

There’s much here to like, though there are a few points at which the story becomes unclear. However the company’s ubiquitous humour and clowning often feels at odds with a tale which is at best poignant, at worst profoundly sad.

Until 25 August