Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Fish Tales of Alaska - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
The Yard, London
Was Peen keen?

This is a multi-disciplinary performance packed to the brim with punch, awe and salmon. It is Fringe theatre at it’s best; an all-female cast of good vocalists, compelling dancers and a leading lady to soak up all of the well-deserved sympathy tells us a tale by means of one of the freshest, most intriguing productions of late 2012.

A fisherman and his wife are headed towards some difficult times, because Alaska is running out of fish. It’s obvious they’re deeply in love, and we never even see the fisherman in real life. He loves the sea; so much so, that his wife turns him in to a fish so that he can be with all of the other fish in the sea forever and ever.
            It is, indeed, a very simple storyline that is delivered through the combination of documentary, music, live art, vocals and movement. On reflection, the idea of it doesn’t sound as great as it actually is – but this production will keep you hooked from beginning to end.

Unhidden Collective, the brains behind this project, are trying to raise awareness of the declining fishing cultures and by extension the life changing consequences that come with it. The most memorable parts of this staging – in the most suitable venue – are their techniques of telling a story. It’s a very appropriately hour-long piece that encompasses a massive range of inspiring performance styles.

The execution of the piece as a whole, moving between dance performance to monologues and live art, is slick and effortless: there’s never a moment of even slight disarray. It relies heavily upon the audiences’ willingness to reflect, which is pounded home as we consider the fact that the fisherman’s wife is pregnant and (for some reason) recording all of her dialogue. Some things remain unsaid, which often makes for much more powerful, thought provoking performance.   

There is a whole load of backstory to this production, which is (astoundingly) the company’s debut; the co-director of Unhidden Collective hails from Alaska herself and dreamed of telling us the stories that she was told as a child. Kudos. This is a job very well done, and reminds us of the importance of Fringe theatre, and exactly why we bother to see it. 

This production runs until 24 November 2012. 
@YardTheatre #FishTales 

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