REVIEW: Fourth Monkey’s Genesis and Revelation: Ascension Part 1

*****

 
By Isabella Fraser

This show is a sprawling, ambitious and extremely wordy retelling of the books of Genesis and Revelation. There is a great deal of text in this show which could do with pruning – too much is squeezed into a short space of time, with the feeling that actors are speeding through it. This may explain why at times it feels as if actors are not listening to each other, but are instead intent on imparting the text.

Not only is this show wordy, but the cast is huge – 27-strong which is a great deal of people to cram into one relatively small theatre space. This works when there are scenes with crowds – indeed the moments where the actors move together in waves or groups are the strongest parts of the whole play. There is a beautiful symmetry in the cast moving together as one; much more is clearer in these moments. The sound effects at the beginning set the atmosphere but these fade out relatively quickly and the effect never builds again.

One disappointment is that the show is billed as immersive theatre but there is very little that could be described as such in this production. Had this been an immersive show it is likely that the text could have been adapted to be less wordy and it would have been fantastic to be surrounded by the large group sections, to help feel more connected to the content.

There are some good actors in this show but also some that need more time or experience to grow into these challenging roles. In particular some voices were patchy in quality and a better understanding of the need for proper vocal support would come with effective training and experience. Nonetheless, there are some parts of the show that have great potential so perhaps with a revamp this may be a more striking piece.

Fourth Monkey’s Genesis and Revelation: Ascension Part 1 runs @ 23.55 @ theSpace on Niddry St on 24 & 26/08/16. Running time 1 hour 5 mins.

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