Edinburgh Reviews: Tangram (Pleasance), Happy Never After (Pleasance)

Tangram, Aurora Nova, Pleasance ✭✭✭✭

Aurora Nova combine the exquisite talents of Cristiana Casadio and Stefan Sing in a tight piece which juxtaposes, contrasts and ultimately combines ballerina Casadio’s technique with Sing’s circus skills. The result is an athletic, rather than lyrical, dance theatre piece performed with skill and physical clarity. At times the performance is unnerving; the power play between the two performers is intriguing, and there are flashes of humour. The performers manipulate their bodies, each other, and their individual skills to tell a love story, with all the attendant emotions that come with it. The overriding experience here though is admiration for the skill of the performers, the quiet appreciation of the beauty of their work, and a sublime vision of the possibility of this type of physical fusion.

**** (4 stars)
Runs until 25th August
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Happy Never After, James Quaife Productions, Pleasance ✭✭✭

James Quaife produces Hannah Rodgers well-paced bittersweet comedy which is ably enhanced by Luke Sheppard’s assured direction and affecting performances from Alice White and Nick Blakely. Gabriella Slade’s set is a simple delight, capably suggesting a variety of different spaces and moods. Rodgers’ script is well observed and captures both the comedy and pathos of the situation, although it fares rather better in pathos than in comedy. While both performances are strong, it is White who has the lion’s share of the best lines, and the better drawn character. She handles the emotional shifts with skill and aplomb. Blakely works well opposite her and pulls off the difficult task of making a cipher into a believable character.

*** (3 stars)
Runs until 26th August
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