It is extremely rare when you see a show in the Fringe that you can find no fault with. Gecko Theatre’s The Overcoat is one such masterpiece, and their performance is an exceptional and spellbinding work of art.
Everything here gels completely. The set is perfectly realised, with industrial tones, metal and machinery creating an atmosphere that is bleak yet beautiful at the same time. The lighting does a fabulous job of highlighting the performers and scenes, creating some moments of magical imagery and visual allure. The script & direction is inspired, with each character speaking in a different language: at once creating a feeling of bewilderment that echoes the main character’s state of mind, but also working cohesively as a whole to bring the piece a unique tone and voice.
Performances are outstanding, with all the cast delivering perfect turns, in a combination of dance, physical expression and theatrical prowess. The costumes and makeup evoke silent movies, mime and commedia del’Artte, creating a unique and mesmerising vision and interpretation of the world Gogol’s characters inhabit. And the music, a combination of soundtrack and live percussion, creates an auditory mood which suits the piece to perfection.
Shows like this challenge and delight, and it is to Gecko Theatre’s credit that The Overcoat does this for every moment of its 80-minute performance. It is filled with standout scenes, such as the main character Akakki’s dream sequence; or his seduction by his lustful landlady in his wonderfully staged garret. Single standouts such as this are hard to pinpoint, however, as the performance is such a completely-realised marvel that it must be seen and taken in its entirety.
When the time comes for Fringe awards and plaudits, The Overcoat must surely be in the front running. For me, it was perfect, and I struggle to think of a theatrical performance this year that will top it.
The Overcoat runs until Aug 29th (not 25th) at the Pleasance Grand. £14.00 (£11.50 concession)