A physical theatre performance centred around the idea of love and longing, Derevo use a unique style of European storytelling to portray the idea that it is better to be heartbroken than heartless. Derevo’s vintage piece is revived at the Fringe 20 years later, its combination of slapstick comedy and physical theatre brings the tragic love story to life.
It is a fairytale that appears to be set in the corrupt mind of Anton Adassinsky’s clown, who falls desperately in love. Clearly created with European humour in mind, it is eccentric and lacks a strong narrative. Nevertheless, its absurdity mirrors that of Slava, as it appears pointless but has a strong underlying meaning.
It features a bedraggled cupid, who fails to hit his arrows in the right direction, causing much aggravation for the clown. Whilst the rugged clown’s love dreams of meeting a handsome and charming young man, she overlooks his attempts to win her heart. The series of events that unfold include feral policemen dressed in leather and angels.
It is a playful performance that has the style of a nightmare clashing with a cartoon. There is an abundance of characters chasing each other around, and dramatic entrances and exits. However, it is a heart-rendering performance as we witness moments of sheer emotional suffering, that are at the core of the piece.
The lighting plays a huge part in the performance, designed intricately it captures the more sinister moments of the show. When the piece begins, the theatre descends into complete darkness, creating a sense of apprehension.
Once is a truly quirky show that has a very hit or miss style of humour, although some may argue it is timeless, I felt it was slightly dated and it needed pace.
**** 3 Stars
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Tickets can be found here.