PaperDolls return to the Fringe Festival after a sell out run in last years show. This new performance has moved its focus to the bed, but not in the romantic notion, instead to focus on sleep! It’s a piece that delves into dream and fairy tale, with a variety of sounds and images that conjure up a view of the nocturnal world.
The stage contains a massive frame, in the shape of a large four post bed with a variety of drapes and ropes for the performers to dangle from. They climb up the poles with grace before moving around and through the frame, often falling onto the mattress below. The lifeless body of one of the acrobats is dragged onto the stage by the hair at one point. She is pulled in front of the audience and around to the back of the bed. At another time, all three performers run with scissors, as if daring the old wives tale to come through.
What makes this piece a cut above other acrobatic performances is the focus on light and sound, which are as essential as the physical acts of the acrobats themselves. The score is constantly changing, often a series of voices discussing sleep and other abstract notions, it also varies into fairy tales and the voice of the narrator is slowed down to make it an eerie presence, as it bellows deep and sonorous. The lighting is well considered also, and at times the performers are only lit by torches, held by the other members of the group, and at other times they are lit by spot lights from below or the sides. This creates some wonderful shadows on the walls of the venue, and the acrobats are only seen in silhouette or with flashes of their form. This is a show that dances the line between performance art and acrobatics and creates a variety of haunting images to keep the audience amused and bedazzled.
PaperDolls are Emily Aoibheann, Elaine McCague and Karen Anderson.