Thursday 22 August 2013

Edinburgh Fringe 2013 - Wot? No Fish!!, or Simple is Best

Note: The show plays at Summerhall until Sunday 25th August, 3-4.15pm.

There has been a debate going on in certain quarters of the press and on twitter this week about the use of technology in live performance. One comment I saw stated bluntly that you can have all the technology in the world but if you don't have good acting and a good story it won't do you any good. Spot on. On the Fringe, which after years of avoiding I seem to have drifted back to this week, I have quite by chance ended up seeing a number of shows which have proved this point in the most positive ways. bread & circuses Wot? No Fish!! written and performed by Danny Braverman is one of the finest.

The show tells the story of Braverman's great uncle Ab Solomon from the 1920s onwards. Every week Solomon, a shoemaker, would receive a wage packet (a little brown envelope) on the back of which he would draw his wife a picture. To begin with this is just a little doodle in the corner of a saucepan and a brush but as the years go on these images became steadily more complex, and enable Braverman to chart the ups and downs of this segment of his family's past through war, marital difficulty, and the problems posed by raising children.

Technology comes into this show because, clearly, Braverman had to find a way to show the art to the audience. For much of the performance he sits at a table with a lamp/projector gradually taking little piles of these wage packet drawings out of a shoe box and displaying them one by one on the screen. It's quite static but the visuals are so striking, and the story so engrossing that one ceases to notice. Given how often stages are too busy this show is a telling reminder that less is often more.

To say any more about this show I would have to give away key aspects of the narrative and this would be a mistake – the magic lies in going on the journey for yourself. What I can say though is that this is a moving little gem of a show, and one not to be missed.

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