Review by Emily Elphinstone
From the opening moments of The Rest is Action, as the cast gently confer with each other while setting up their space; there’s a real atmosphere of excitement. It must be clear to those not already familiar with The Company’s approach to theatre, that this is a group that really enjoys its work.
Already Fringe favourites with previous hits including Who is Fergus Kilpatrick? and As You Are Now So Once Were We; The Company’s latest offering will not disappoint. It’s not just about the story, this time using Aeschylus’ The Oresteia as a framework; but more about how a story can be told. This isn’t to say that you need a great deal of knowledge about Greek Tragedy: There’s not a toga in sight, and as with previous shows, the cast play versions of themselves as much as any characters they may present. This is delivered with a light touch by Brian Bennett, Rob McDermott and Nyree Yergainharsian, and there’s a great self-deprecating humour to the show, which makes it far more comic than tragic; whatever their subject matter may be.
The real beauty of The Rest is Action is the balance between the very fresh, almost improvisational atmosphere, and the incredible attention to detail that has really gone in to what we see before us. It is written with a very informal tone, as if we’re watching the cast in the rehearsal room; and the bickering, conversational dialogue doesn’t just go round in circles, but huge loops. This is paired with brilliant design (by Stephen Dodd) which is also far more complex than first appearances may suggest, using a rather oppressive black sheet hanging over the stage to project Mick Cullinan’s increasingly complex and beautiful images. All these elements are brought together expertly by José Miguel Jimenez’s direction, and the final result is a brilliantly considered, and fun whole.