Bunking off

Paperdolls' new show is the darker stuff of dreams



Project Space Upstairs


Fringe favourites Paperdolls return with an exploration of the darker side of sleep and dreams. A giant bed – rendered four poster by a frame with aerial dance paraphernalia – is a constant malevolent presence, offering raw, exposed mattress springs rather than feather-down comfort. Eerie voiceovers filter in and out of the speed-controlled soundscape, depicting nightmares, sleep paralysis and somniphobia.

In front of this impressive sonic and visual backdrop, movement and live images are disjointed and often clumsily set up. There are skilful solos on ropes and the frame – and even the obligatory shadow play with torches and tented sheets – but the individual elements never quite coalesce. The final image of an audience member strung up and left swinging on the frame is indicative: it takes an age to set up, but doesn’t repay with an appropriate dramatic punch. Bunk successfully exposes the raw world of sleep disorder, but somewhat lacks focus and sprawls around like a fitful sleeper.

Ends Sept 14