By Hayley-Jane Doyle
A stunning whirl wind of comedy, politics and physical theatre, Four For Jericho is a provoking and entertaining delight.
The play opens and closes with narrators addressing the audience and making the performance feel intimate and safe. They delicately invite you in to engage and ponder all issues highlighted by the show, making the piece feel urgent and personal. Incredibly effective moments constantly spill across the stage, repeatedly contrasting one another; a snippet of passion and excitement is followed by a streak of terror and confusion, a bustling and busy market place is placed aside a stark and haunting elongated flash. Each climactic point is transfixing and utterly intense, often accompanied by a dusting of intelligent subtlety which continuously adds texture and insight.
The completely convincing creation of a taxi, using just four blocks and a steering wheel, exemplifies the innovation of the piece. Despite beginning to drag and feel repetitive at times, the taxi construction provides a connecting line for the entire performance, a comfortable mould for the remainder of the piece to fit into.
The farcical tension at the core of the piece is cleverly crafted, using a combination of comedy, irony and innovative symbolism to create an explicit and interesting effect. Additional bizarre and eccentric fragments enhance the intensity at the root of the piece. Each character, combined with their ability to be interchangeable, has a deep and full audience connection, breeding empathy and understanding. Their opinions and hopes feel meaningful and compelling; however, the complexity of Michael’s relationship with Marie feels undeveloped and unresolved.
Menagerie has complete command of their stage, successfully and innovatively entwining their very simple set and costumes with stylistic lighting and voices to create an utterly believable middle-eastern world. They work together seamlessly, with uncompromising energy, making their performance smooth and full of enthusiasm. The piece stretches so far, exploring countless concepts and issues. It begs you to consider, for example, the intricacies of unquestionably obeying orders and behaviours, the tensions between idealism and reality, the dangers of stereotyping: all topics shaping a world which will inevitably “go into rewind” always repeating the same mistakes.
Peacefully still and artistically moving, the close of the performance holds an inquisitive and haunting air.
5-29 August, 1445 @ Pleasance Courtyard