Glasgow-based Cryptic theatre bring their poetic and sensory production of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando to the Fringe in what proves to be an atmospheric and majestic marriage of theatre and new technology.
Judith Williams grips the attention throughout this one-hander as the protagonist, with diction and delivery which have the audience hanging on every word of the lyrical and literate script, adapted from the original by Darryl Pinckney. Convincing both as the rakish Elizabethan version of the hero; and – after Orlando’s transformation midway – as an older, yet not necessarily wiser woman, Williams strides across the stage, her peformance becoming more physical and expressive as the pages of the metaphorical tale turn.
Five pairs of muslin strips hang down behind her, creating a tunnel for her to walk through; and – most effectively – as a backdrop for the innovative video projection used throughout the production. As the projected light filters through the first layer and onto the second, a three-dimensional effect is created: letters float down like snowflakes; computer-generated images of buildings swoop and swirl; live motion capture echoes Williams’ movements like a ghostly dance partner. The effect is mesmerising, and greatly enhances the dream-like hypnotic mood of the piece.
A soundtrack by Craig Armstrong and AGF complements the visuals: again, this has an otherworldly, claustrophobic beauty which ensures Orlando is a multi-sensory and sensual piece of immersive theatre which seduces throughout.
Orlando runs from 7-29 Aug (not Weds) at ReMarkable Arts new venue at St George’s West at 14:00. More details here.