Theatre review: Squally Showers
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: Squally Showers at Zoo Southside (Venue 82), reviewed by Matt Trueman
Margaret Thatcher’s legacy has been thoroughly raked over but never with the exuberant surrealism of Little Bulb’s Squally Showers, their first dabble with dance.
At a burgeoning 1980s television channel, station executives boss their underlings, juniors rise through ranks and one lowly weathergirl, Peggy (Claire Beresford), is becoming a national star. You settle in for Anchorman starring Anne Diamond, then suddenly Maggie is dancing on a map of Britain, frolicking with monsters as a unicorn dies. Bubbles rain down and she holds the whole world aloft.
All this teeters between perplexity and outright confusion, but Squally Showers rewards the sort of post-show processing that is hard at the Fringe. It’s a stronger piece than its context allows.
Essentially, Little Bulb are looking back to dissect the present; our massive mass media and its fundamental conservatism, established hierarchies that can’t be topped or toppled and rampant, fame-hungry individualism. All this, they suggest, could be a passing storm.
Structurally it is shaky, but Little Bulb’s staging is a singular delight. They perform nostalgia with a real care for its aesthetic. This isn’t the 1980s as it was, but as it has become crystallised: chain-smoking, bouffants and prehistoric gender politics. And dancing – of course – that gives everything gloss. It adds up to a critique through spoof – and, though affection muffles its anger, it’s all joyously idiosyncratic.
Until 24 August. Today 9pm
Originally published in The Scotsman
More info: Squally Showers is at Zoo Southside