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99.9 Degrees
Published on Thursday, 09 August 2012
4

4 stars

C venues - C eca (venue website)
Theatre
1-13, 15-27 Aug, 5:30pm-6:30pm
Reviewed by Lynsey Martenstyn

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

It’s difficult to believe this is only the second year Jackinabox Productions has ventured to the Fringe. 99.9 Degrees encapsulates key aspects of what the best Fringe shows have to offer: innovative, current and watchable.

It tells the tale of five hostages, held captive in a room on Princess Street in London. Police encircle the area, more captives are out of sight, and terrorists lurk in the shadows. 99.9 Degrees provides an honest portrayal of how five different people react to this situation, through accessible and beautiful physical theatre.

The five performers form a strong ensemble of dancers and actors. During movement scenes, they’re able to effortlessly merge, creating provocative scenes as a troupe and moving fluidly betwixt each other like cogwheels. Whilst acting, they all have clearly defined characters – as rigid as the stark plastic chairs that they sit on – who rarely form bonds with each other.

Recollections are performed as physical theatre, while the events within the hostage room are scripted. The stage is suitably sparse, allowing the physical scenes to flow back into the hostage room. A plank of wood is one of the few props, used to depict everything from a bar, to a pole-dancing pole to a bed. The sound and lighting, meanwhile, sync perfectly with the emotions each scene and character portrays.

Despite the beauty of the physical pieces and the creativity of the movement, the production needed a few more strands of continuity to make it more powerful to a wider audience. The opening sequence of an atypical night out ritual was accessible, humorous and fantastical to watch – however, it was unclear how this sequence joined with the main context of the play. And there is a mobile phone in the room, which only becomes the focus during the latter part of the script, with no explanation as to why it was never mentioned before.

The ending, though, is profound and deeply chilling. If you want to see the raw emotions of characters who fear their time has come, 99.9 Degrees offers an inventive, visually brilliant interpretation.

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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