By Isabella Fraser
Multi-media is a growing part of this year’s Fringe – there have been many productions that weave at least a couple of strands of multi-media into the body of their text. Loose Soul makes great use of a split screen curtain on which video images play in the background to a soothing and hypnotic voiceover track.
The piece from Geranium Theatre Company is about a girl called Pinky (Melody Parker) who, hating her own life, creates an online version of herself, Penelope (Natalie Robbie), who is perfect in every way. Robbie is perfectly cast as Penelope and manages to be very clear in portraying an online persona. The section where she is running as part of a video game is very funny and very clear – for anyone who has ever become addicted to a Facebook came, racking up the points and unable to drag yourself away from it.
The multi-media sections of this production are the strongest parts of the piece. The audience is drawn into an almost cinema like experience, drawn into a visual and aural vacuum where it feels as if we are surrounded by the messages portrayed on screen. This is fascinating and visually impressive, to have us feel that we are in the online world, rather than just looking at it. The voiceover, itself sounding futuristic in a computer-generated soothing voice that gives the impression of us being part of the future: we are entering a brave new world. This builds throughout the piece as Pinky and Penelope slowly encroach on each other’s worlds.
Where this production falters is in the strength of the non-cyber storyline as it lacks substance. It seems disjointed and can jar when going between the soothing hypnotic world of cyberspace to the dull everyday existence of an unhappy life. This may have been deliberate but it causes the action to falter. What would be fascinating would be to see this production make more use of the cyber world experience and perhaps interact with the audience through that world.
Loose Soul runs until 25 August at Spotlites @ The Merchants’ Hall at 22.10. Running time is 50 mins.