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Woolley Eyed Turtle 3D

above: Woolley Eyed Turtle 3D – Photo Permission: Cantankerous Theatre

 Two zany women – Wildly dynamic physical storytelling!

Review by Jo Tomalin

Maeve Bell (l) Emily Johnson (r)

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015
Highly Recommended

These two zany women perform a creatively devised show full of characters set in a community care home in Ireland. You will meet Liam and Noreen, Grace and others as the exuberant Maeve Bell and Emily Johnson take you on this journey. It’s comedic and fun, for sure, but also witty and heartfelt.

The Saint Mary Magdelene Mother of Hope Care Home’s motto is “What fills your day, prolongs your stay” so we first learn about the activities that will keep everyone not cantankerous. As the carers go about their work they discover the patrons’ life stories and take on the characters themselves, which is very entertaining – it is then that we are invited to put on our 3D glasses.

Although Bell and Johnson are nowhere near the ages of the characters they portray, they do a great job switching between several characters. Wearing dark green unitards and the same short black hair style, they become male and female characters of all ages moving easily between various accents. This is quite a feat because they don’t even add costumes – there’s no time – but their strength is in the physical aspects of telling the story, so they simply adjust their posture and facial expressions. Maeve Bell has some particularly exaggerated expressions – sometimes her eyes seem to pop out of her head, while her mouth contorts – it’s hilarious!

There’s music and movement too – Contemporary / Irish dance mash up, which add to the playful absurdist nature of Cantankerous Theatre. Both performers take turns narrating and it’s very effective, even to the back row. They also integrate objects into their storytelling such as the bit with a toy plane, which is fun.

What sets this show apart is how the performers relate to each other – they are Yin and Yang, complementing each other well. There is mischief, charm and warmth in the show coming from how Bell and Johnson interact, really listening and reacting to each other and the audience. They enjoy what they are doing and therefore, this ripples out to the audience. The story, packed full of fascinating intergenerational observations is well developed, and although some moments are probably improvised the structure is solid and they stay on track – women on a mission! Oh, the woolley eyed turtle? Well you’ll have to go and discover that for yourself – it will be worthwhile.

The PBH Free Fringe 2015 is producing a lot of theatre shows this year. Therefore, this show – Woolley Eyed Turtle 3D – is free, no tickets or reservations required!

Free     7:30pm at Cafe Camino (55 minutes), to August 29, 2015 – No Mondays at Venue 65, Little King Street, Edinburgh


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
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www.forallevents.com  Arts & Travel Reviews

This review originally published in www.FringeReview.co.uk

About the Author

Jo TomalinOriginally from England Jo Tomalin is currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is a reviewer for Dance & Theatre at www.ForAllEvents.com and works in the performing arts as a freelance movement specialist, director + actor. She is also a Professor in the Theatre Arts Department at San Francisco State University, teaching Movement for actors, Voice, Storytelling and Acting. Jo Tomalin studied Classical Ballet for 12 years. She graduated from London University's Laban Centre teaching credential program in Modern Dance, Art of Movement & Choreography, then she trained in Physical Theatre, Masks, and Devised theatre at the renowned professional acting school "Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq" Paris, France. She also studied Classical Acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London; and Voice and Acting at Trinity College of Dramatic Art, London.View all posts by Jo Tomalin →