Touch

August 24, 2015 | By | Reply More

✭✭✩✩✩   A touch lacking

New Town Theatre (VEnue 7): Wed 19 – Sun 30 Aug 2015

Touch, a co-production between Ciaran Myers and Edinburgh-based Asylon Theatre at the New Town Theatre, treats difficult themes sensitively and tactfully. Unfortunately, this is at the expense of dramatic impact.

Jacky, the sole character in the show, welcomes the audience as her ’visitors’ to her ‘lecture.’ Formerly a teacher who taught others to read people’s true selves, she now finds herself institutionalised and – she believes – misunderstood.

TouchSadly, the whole enterprise fell at the first hurdle. There is an almost insurmountable difficulty in judging what is meant to be a piece of immersive theatre when it is played out in front of such a tiny audience as were present on this occasion.

The audience interaction demanded by the script is rendered nigh-on impossible. The examination of their prejudices and projections simply does not happen, while there is a hint that the end of the play is dependent at least partly on audience reaction.

Even without the necessary participation, the performance still has to be capable of making an impact. In this regard it is deficient in some areas. Katarzyna Wizental’s performance, while thoroughly believable, remains strangely impersonal. She is not helped by Ciaran Myers’s script, which always seems to be on the point of revelations that never come.

The themes of self-harm and loss of self-belief could easily be treated in a way that avoids any facile solutions; indeed, simple humanity almost demands such an approach. However, the structure of the piece always promises more, to the extent that the ending appears puzzling and unsatisfactory.

Marta Mari’s direction also falls between two stools. The ‘semi-immersive’ tag given to the production suggests a failure of nerve, of intentions half carried out.

The whole production wants to involve the audience with a degree of warmth rather than confront or shock them. However, with no audience to involve, this cannot happen, and there is no Plan B. With Fringe audiences so unpredictable, such an occurrence could surely have been foreseen and allowed for.

Running time 50 minutes
New Town Theatre (Venue 7), Freemasons’ Hall, 96 George St, EH2 3DH
Wednesday 19 – Sunday 30 August 2015
Daily at 7.00 pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/touch

ENDS

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