By Danielle Farrow
DugOut Theatre’s Fade is an intriguing, entertaining and occasionally thought-provoking piece that is something of a snapshot, where you can be left thinking ‘what next?’ and possibly even ‘so?’.
The abruptness of the end, that feels as if it could segue into further sequences, as has happened before, is not particularly satisfying, though it can fulfil the maxim of ‘always leave them wanting more’. The more that is wanting is likely to be particularly craved because what has gone before is especially well presented.
DugOut mix instruments into their performances so that song, sound and music illustrate the tale along the way, to great comedic and sometimes profound affect. Fade tells of a struggling journalist who attempts to regain connection to an epiphanic moment in his life by arranging to interview a sweetheart from his early teenage years. The girl is now an actress, to be interviewed with her director, and the journalist is not the one in control.
Connections to Hamlet weave through the piece, in manipulating plots, the journalist’s depression and his attempt at using imagination to set all to rights in Shakespeare’s Danish court and so in his own head and life. Though all of this may seem only dark, there is superb comedy throughout, with an imaginary friend and the director’s assistant providing light relief as characters, while the whole company present fine comedic timing as well as the ability to turn on the spot, changing mood immediately.
The elements of humour and danger, present in Hamlet, are also reflected in the director’s interest in Punchinella, the original Punch, and the collecting of memorabilia the director engages in, while insisting his life is his art, may also reflect the curtailed episode feel of the piece – as the journalist tries to capture all that one specific memory means to him, the director has collected what we see unfold and that is all that remains now, the rest lost – or silent.
Fade will have you laughing and gasping, thoroughly entertained, somewhat discomforted and yes, left wanting more.