Based in LONDON, The awkward corner is a collection of words by ellen burgin. writer, feminist, theatrical journalist.

#EdFringe: Art Heist – Review

#EdFringe: Art Heist – Review

★★★

Three bank robbers, three motives to steal a painting, one wild story line with a ‘D and D’ or ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style feel.

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Art Heist is sadly my least favourite of the Underbelly/ New Diorama Untapped Award shows, due to it’s light on storyline and narrative progression, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still a wacky, wild adventure. The show instead focuses on being a bit more interactive with the audience, well-used video cameras and screens and great use of space to tell a story of three bank robbers and one museum security guard, and the adventure that follows to steal a painting.

The show is narrated in a style of maybe Dungeons and Dragons or a Choose Your Own Adventure – the narrator (xxx, who also plays the security guard) is giving prompts and information to the cast of bank robbers, which sometimes isn’t followed, and driving the narrative. It’s a farcical comedy that gets sillier as it goes along, a bit like an escape room you get to watch. At one point they do point to the lack of narrative and say ‘What if there’s no narrative and we just stop’ as they attempt to navigate the storyline without their security guard/ dungeon master (they bludgeoned her but it’s okay she’s only unconscious), and try and test what works, realizing whoever has the microphone has the power to dictate the storyline and the show’s progression and control the other players.

Sit in the front row if you’re ready to be part of the heist, as audience participation is pretty much required for them (but they were warned as they sat down), and are used across the show to create a chaotic final tableau and almost obstacle course for the museum escape.

There’s a great use of sound effects and lighting as well across the show, and the performers xx, xx, xx and xx bring a manic energy and pace to the show. They’re completely dedicated to their characters and the chaos (even if it’s light on the story in my opinion).   Unfortunately, the themes of ‘how do we value art and it’s worth’ didn’t come through as strongly as I would have hoped.

Art Heist plays at Underbelly Cowgate until 25 August. More info.

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