Monday, October 23, 2006

'Past Half Remembered' by NIE

23 October 2006

We nearly saw the play 'Past Half Remembered' at the Edinburgh Fringe in August where it was well reviewed. Last Saturday we got another chance as its tour reached the Hat Factory in Luton. 'Past Half Remembered' is the tale of a 100-year old Russian woman reflecting on her life - including experiences of the First World War and the 1917 revolution. But the show is more about how the story is told - as 6 actors compete with each other to act out the tale. The company, NIE (New International Encounter), specialises in bringing together actors from across Europe and this production was performed in Czech, French, English, Norwegian and Russian. The multi-lingualism is seemlessly done and extremely entertaining. The playful approach to storytelling - with great slapstick, live music and hilarious crosstalk - is extremely theatrical. A really enjoyable evening - added to by being serenaded into the theatre at the beginning after we had been plied with complementary vodka and Russian tea poured from a samovar. It was just a shame there wasn't a bigger audience: this was very much an Edinburgh fringe show - close, intimate, with a minimal set and lasting just over an hour - but out of the fringe context it seems difficult to draw sufficient audiences for this kind of work. If you have a chance to catch the current tour please do.

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