Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus review: #JeSuis

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: #JeSuis is, according to Midlands-based Aakash Odedra Company, a work in progress. But given the show's subject matter, it's hard to imagine it ever being anything other than that.

Zoo Southside (82)


Stepping up to the microphone, a performer chants “hashtag JeSuis Paris, hashtag JeSuis Istanbul”, along with other sites of recent tragedy and atrocity, before bringing it right up to date with “hashtag JeSuis Barcelona”. It would be naïve to think they won’t have more to add to this before the show stops touring.

But in other ways, yes, this is a work that has yet to fully find its groove. An elongated opening burns too slowly to fully engage, with much meandering and paper scrunching. Once the characters start to emerge, however, and Odedra’s choreography kicks in – it’s time to feel the force. Because for every story that attracts a hashtag or Facebook profile filter, there are thousands of unreported or quickly forgotten stories of people experiencing displacement, conflict and restriction of speech. Odedra aims to depict that here, by creating a community attempting to effect change.

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A table littered with paperwork, telephone, radio, rubber stamp gives the impression of busyness, but little is allowed to be said after the arrival of an aggressive military man. The moments of physical theatre come and go in their effectiveness but the ensemble dance movement is powerful indeed and leaves you longing for more.

But without doubt, the section that will stay with everybody forever, finds three women slowly wrapped from toe to head in cling film. As they attempt to speak, the transparent plastic is pressed against their faces, stifling their mouths, their bodies, their spirit – until they finally break free.

Until 26 August. Today 8:30pm.

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