Lost in Translation: A Bilingual Journey

Aug 27 2017 | By More

★★★☆☆    Lively but unorganised

Institut francais d’Ecosse (Venue 134): Fri 4 – Mon 28 Aug 2017
Review by Dylan Taylor

Edinburgh-based Theatre Sans Accents’ first full theatre production, Lost in Translation, brings an exuberant energy that does not always translate into a consistent delivery.

Staged at the Institut francais d’Ecosse, Marion Geoffray’s play, co-devised and directed by Marcus Bazley, centres around Geoffray’s autobiographical journey from the South of France to London and on to Edinburgh. The play is structured to represent a set of language learning lessons. A voice over speaker announces the steps that must be taken in order to transition from one culture to another.

Geoffray, as sole actor, speaks mostly in French for the first part of the play, describing her dreams of England while growing up. References are made to Prince Harry, the Spice Girls, and Jane Eyre. Geoffray’s use of a large storage box for multiple functions—a seat on a train, a tea table, a sort of podium–in order to tell the story from one location and with little other set design, is inventive and adds a feeling of whimsical fun.

But while Geoffray’s enthusiasm is contagious, sometimes her delivery feels catered towards a younger audience, despite some of the play’s more mature jokes. As the play moves forward, the narrative begins to fall away, giving room to more random scenes of Geoffray’s behaviours. It becomes unclear where she is heading, and sometimes it seems even she is only playing it by ear.

The audience participation in particular, while well-intentioned, feels a bit rough and awkward. While the unpredictability does lead to some laughs, the sequences often feel drawn out and could use with some tightening up.

In the last segment, Geoffray essentially ceases acting and speaks with her own voice about the differences between British and French customs, turning the play into something that is more of an educational discussion. It is a somewhat jarring transition, which nevertheless leads to some interesting and engaging opportunities for learning.


There are two “plays” merging together here, which could blend with a bit more ease. As it is, the performance manages by the end to overcome some of these structural confusions through Geoffray’s sheer force of personality. As an explanation of some of the differences between two cultures, it does a good job. As a piece of theatre, it seems a bit more jumbled. If it could only make up its mind what it wishes to be, then this could be a great tool of learning which moves between both teaching and performance.

As a newer company, Theatre Sans Accents has created the beginnings of something that could eventually be great. For such a small performance, the production value is quite good, thanks to Thomas Durham’s design and illustration, and Lucile Pages’ Scenography. The unique perspective that Geoffray and her team bring ensures that whatever the company decides to make next, they have a chance of making it both informative and enjoyable.

Running time: 1 hour
Institut français d’Ecosse, 13 Randolph Crescent, EH3 7TT (Venue 134)
Friday 4 – Monday 28 August 2017
Daily (not 7, 14, 15, 22): 4pm.
Tickets from EdFringe site: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/lost-in-translation-a-bilingual-journey

Company website: http://www.theatresansaccents.co.uk/
Facebook: @TheatreSansAccents
Twitter: @TheatreSAccents


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.