Song of the Goat & Plastic Heroes

Jan 31 2018 | By More

★★★☆☆    charmingly cartoonish & ★★★★☆   Playful

Traverse: Mon 29 Jan 29
Review by Liam Rees

Manipulate Festival is back and its performance side got off to a smashing start on Monday with two hugely inventive and darkly comic shows which both use toys as puppets.

Hailing from France, Compagnie à presents Song of the Goat, a playful fable with a twist about love and jealousy in all-American 1950s suburbia.

Song of the Goat. Pic Jef Rabillon

Manicured front lawns are the stage on which our protagonists, a pair of toy dogs and a goat, fall in love, steal lovers, and wreak bloody vengeance.

It’s charmingly cartoonish in its satirical depiction of suburban efforts to keep up with the Joneses and reaches a hilarious fever pitch in a sequence of increasingly reminiscent of Tom and Jerry but with more knives and explosions.

There’s no doubt that we’re in for a good time but it would benefit from a slightly more intimate venue than Traverse 1 which rendered some of the visual gags more difficult to see. The only real complaint is that I was left wishing for more than the 50 minute running time as there’s a wealth of material that could undoubtedly be added to the already highly enjoyable show.

ideal balance

There are no such concerns about Ariel Doron’s immensely watchable, Plastic Heroes, which strikes the ideal balance between comedy and pathos.

Plastic Heroes. Pic: Yair Meyuhas

As in Song of the Goat, children’s toys are used to tell an altogether much darker tale about the banality and horrific reality of living in a country at war. A tiger’s sleep is interrupted by tanks and helicopters, a soldier Skypes his family, another soldier just wants to dance yet is forced to fight.

Doron evokes a series of vivid sketches that never fail to be both amusing, insightful and sometimes heartbreaking. He imbues each toy with a distinct personality and the intimacy of Traverse 2 gives him free rein to implicate the audience in the horrors of war as well.

At once it reminds you of being a child and the fantasy worlds we create whilst also forcing us to look at the world these children are growing up in.

Manipulate continues to Saturday at the Traverse with a strong variety of shows that showcase different aspects of performance.

Running times: 50 mins/45 mins.
Manipulate Festival
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED
Monday 29 January 2018
Runs ended

Manipulate – performance Listings

Song of the Goat (Compagnie a)
Monday 29 January 2018
Trav 1: 7.30pm (50 mins).

Plastic Heroes (Ariel Doron)
Monday 29 January 2018
Trav 2: 9pm (45 mins).

Ressacs (Compagnie Gare Centrale)
Tuesday 30 January
Trav 1: 7.30pm (70 mins).
Creating humorous, bickering, larger-than-life husband and wife characters, and using masterful and imaginative object manipulation, the award-winning  presents a bitingly funny and darkly satirical allegory about the dangers of existing purely for the material life.

Achilles (Company of Wolves)
Tuesday 30 January
Trav 2: 9pm (60 mins).
The myth of Achilles is re-imagined in this heart-stopping, dynamically physical solo performance created and performed by Ewan Downie.

Peurbleu & Don’t Be Afraid: A Double Bill (C&C Company)
Wednesay 31 Jan.
Trav 1: 6.45pm (70 mins).
The celebrated CEC company returns to Scotland with a double bill of award-winning work.

Off-Kilter (Ramesh Meyyappan Productions)
Wednesday 31 Jan.
Trav 2: 9pm (60 mins).
At work and in his home, Joe Kilter has his daily set routines. Although some people think Joe is obsessive, Joe would prefer not be thought of at all. A solo work from Ramesh Meyyappan.

Almost Alive (Sandman – Sabine Molenaar)
Thursday 1 Feb.
Trav 1: 7.30pm (55 mins).
In her third solo work, Sabine Molenaar wonders what would happen when you withdraw yourself from the turmoil of the outside world and enter a timeless and boundless inner world.

Sea Hames (Oceanallover)
Thursday 1 Feb.
Traverse (promenade performance, 1 hour).
A celebration of Orkney’s Festival of the House, ancient traditions of ploughing contests and arcant rural ritual from Oceanallover, one of Scotland’s leading performance companies creating site-specific work for a great variety of indoor and outdoor settings.

The Frog at the Bottom of the Well Believes that the Sky is Round (Vélo Théâtre)
Friday 2 Feb
Trav 1: 7pm & 9.30pm (75 mins).
Mr Brin d’Avoine has an eclectic collection of treasured objects. His home is a refuge, a complete imaginary and ornately intricate world. Two man-servants welcome you into his house. On entering you will leave your usual place as a mere spectator and become a privileged visitor in an intriguing and dreamlike house…

Dal Vivo! (Flop & ATH Associés)
Friday 2 Feb
Trav 2: 7pm & 9.30pm (38 mins).
An immersive, allusive and poetic piece, living on the cusp of performance art, cinema, theatre and painting. Dal Vivo! shows us the mechanics of creativity where between light, objects, projection and their interplay we can create our own, personal narratives.

Sleeping Beauty (Compagnie Akselere)
Saturday 3 Feb
Trav 1: 7.30pm (55 mins)
A personal interpretation of the darker elements of the Briar Rose fairy tale, a fairy tale for grown-ups, created and performed by Compagnie Akselere’s Artistic Director, Colette Garrigan.

Clown Cabaret: Special Edition (Plutôt la Vie, CLoWnStePPinG & Melaine Jordan)
Saturday 3 Feb.
Trav 1: 9pm (70 mins).
A delightfully daft evening with some of Scotland’s finest clowns. Each one has clawed their way up through the ranks of Clown Cabaret Scratch Nights to unleash their wild and wonderful dreams and fantasies for you…


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