Fringe review: The Rest is Action

The Oresteia is reduced to an hour in The Company’s arch and enigmatic new work.

 

The Rest is Action

Project Arts Centre

****

Everything is over before it’s begun in this arch and enigmatic take on The Oresteia (and other inescapable fates) from Fringe warriors The Company. “There’s not that much that’s actually important,” Nyree Yergainharsian counsels us, partly as plot introduction, partly in defiance of the oracle. Dressed in shorts, as though somewhere between rehearsals and a package holiday, the trio comically poke holes in every actorly gesture or Aeschylean plot inconsistency, but despite the playful surface, those age-old systems violently reassert themselves.

Director José Miguel Jiménez’s production is conceptually ambitious. Beginning with a bare space under practical lights, it evolves through ever more elaborate visions, impressively cast on an overhead canopy, while each repetition and identity confusion steadily reveals a sly purpose. Artful and self-aware, the actors barely complete part one of the trilogy before the ancient narrative subsumes them, as though this fate is contemporary theatre’s anxiety dream. Some ideas remain mystifying, but the attempt to condense tragic momentum and social comment into an hour is heroic enough. They role out the carpet, the rest is destiny.

Ends Sep 13