Theatre Review – The Dress Affair

Sep 11 2010 | By More


The GRV: September 2010
Review by Thom Dibdin

A sparkling and erotically-charged piece of new writing from Tightlaced Theatre at the GRV until Saturday reminds that while the Fringe might have left town, fringe theatre in Edinburgh is very much on the up.

Written by the company’s David Robb and based on a Brazilian poem, the thought-provoking two-hander has an air of magical realism to it.

Andrew Henry as The Man, Danielle Farrow as The Woman in Tightlaced Theatre’s The Dress Affair

Danielle Farrow is excellent as The Woman against a rather underwhelming Andrew Henry, who really needs to stamp some sort of authority on his role of The Man. But the star of the show is a deep red dress with gold lace trims and highlights.

Farrow’s success is that she makes you believe that this is the sort of dress which transforms the person who puts it on. They don’t so much wear it, as it is the dress which wears them – a skin that has its own entity and just needs flesh and bones over which to settle.

Director Flavia D’Avila handles the storytelling well. She creates the dress’s first incarnation in silhouette, when a high-class dressmaker exchanges it for favours from a desperate woman.

The main setting is a psychotherapist’s consulting rooms where the dress’s current owner is seeking counselling about her failed marriage.

Farrow and Henry succeed in creating and developing two different sets of characters as the woman tells the therapist the story of her husband’s infidelity with the dress’s previous owner. And now it seems that it is not the woman who is in charge, but the dress itself.

Also on stage, and subtly brought into the action, are Iain Orr on piano and Alex Tobin on guitar. Orr’s original music provides a compelling and unobtrusive underpinning of the whole play.

While this is already a strong and entertaining piece of theatre that is easily worth seeing, it still has plenty of room in which to expand. David Robb could happily be more dangerous with his themes and D’Avila could afford to give the technical aspects of her direction an extra flourish.

Having stepped off the beaten track, there is no room for either of them to be tentative.

Run ends Saturday


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