Review – The Lives of the High-Rise Saints

Oct 10 2013 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩ Absurdly tragic

Summerhall Thurs 10 – Sat 12 October 2013

Sharp, dark and brilliantly realised, Ad Spectatores present Agata Kucinska’s one woman puppet show adaptation of Polish playwright Lidia Amejko’s The Lives of the High-Rise Saints to Saturday as part of the Polska Arts in Edinburgh season at Summerhall.

Agata Kucinska in The Lives of the High-Rise Saints. Photo ©

Agata Kucinska in The Lives of the High-Rise Saints. Photo ©

Just beneath the surface of The Lives lyrical and faintly surreal dialogue, lurks a genuine bitter and cynical irony.

In essence, the show is about the alienation, loneliness, futility and ennui of high-rise urban living. Playing, with deep irony, on mythic and religious texts, the stories of the denizens of a housing estate tower block are told through a series of vignettes, bound together by the shared roof-top musings of the principal characters.

Each of the stories revolves around the pathetic, misguided and yet somehow absurdly successful attempts of their characters to transcend the tragedy of the economic and moral squalor of their environs and attain sainthood (to become ‘good’) through working for others.

Kucinska’s performance is smart, charming and compelling, bringing each of the small puppet residents of the brilliantly rendered tower block rooftop to life through a mixture of extremely effective physical performance and voice work. She is well supported by an effective live-mixed soundscape of instrumental and voice work.

A strange, almost sarcastic meditation on the failure of creation and the flawed and inadequate redemption of life through its transformation into an ironic, quasi-mythic narrative, The Live of the High-Rise Saints is dark, odd and compelling.

Running Time 1hr
Thurs 10 – Sat 12 October, 2013. Daily, 7pm.
Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1QH
Tickets and further details:


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