Theatre review: The Project
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: The Project at Zoo Pleasance (Venue 124), reviewed by Susan Mansfield
It is said that, somewhere on every Fringe, you will find a group of students in a church hall who are challenging the forms and conventions of theatre. And here they are, a group from Nottingham, with a daring and uncomfortable piece of work.
The Project is theatre in the form of “a morally questionable rehabilitation process”, focused on a girl called Amelia, who has been referred after an unspecified affliction. Between bouts of “therapeutic” questioning and participatory exercises, the other four members of the team discuss spontaneity, authenticity, the nature of belief. It is at once highly serious and somewhat absurd, punctuated by interludes of 1950s pop music. The audience is quietly invited in on the act so we are complicit before we know it, and this produced a lively discussion at the performance I attended.
The sense of the sinister is greatly helped by immensely focused performances, and by the hints writers Bridie Rollins and Martha Rose Wilson give us of the society in which all this is happening. But, while it’s appropriate that not everything is explained, The Project perhaps leaves a few too many questions unanswered. If the company could give this show just a little more clarity, it would pack even more of a punch.