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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow I Want to Tell You Something
I Want to Tell You Something
Published on Wednesday, 07 August 2013

2 stars

Sweet Grassmarket (venue website)
1-11, 13-25 Aug, 5:40pm-6:30pm
Reviewed by Jane Bristow

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

A one woman play involving origami, a teapot, and audience participation sounded like it could stand out from the three thousand shows vying for attention in this year’s Fringe. Sadly, it failed to live up to its promise, and instead became a little too reminiscent of an angsty drama project. Still, there were some interesting aspects of I Want To Tell You Something – and the play showed real potential to bring a character to life.

Loosely centred around the Greek myth of Iphigenia, this is part pure storytelling, and part a confessional piece. The audience hears how before setting out to fight the Trojans, Agamemnon has angered the goddess Artemis – and so must sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia before the army’s boats can launch. To lure Iphigenia to the harbour where the army is stuck, he tells her to join him there in order to get married. This is cleverly told from Iphigenia’s perspective, and it’s clear the performer does have a gift for telling a story.

Echoing the harbour, the performer makes origami boats and clips them to a frame, which provides the only backdrop to an otherwise empty stage. This was a brave staging decision, but it put the production at a disadvantage, meaning that I Want to Tell You Something had to work particularly hard to maintain the audience’s attention. The audience participation, meanwhile, felt like I was being cornered into divulging something deep and meaningful, which just served to make me feel very stiff-upper-lip British.

Other autobiographical threads are woven in; these are meant to illustrate the performer’s compulsion to tell stories, but they didn’t quite succeed. Lines such as ‘I am buried under a pile of words’ (uttered in solemn tones) didn’t help, and in general the show would have benefitted from not taking itself so seriously. There’s an interesting feminist agenda, particularly when Iphigenia compares the idea of human sacrifice with marriage, and I would have liked this perspective to be developed further; she provides appealing alternative voice from history.

The overall effect was one of inconsistency: I would have preferred more focus on telling a story, rather than trying so hard to make I Want to Tell You Something into a profound piece. The audience participation relies too much on people wanting to share their feelings, and just made me think ‘I don’t want to tell you anything’. With a little more humour and less of an earnest approach it could have felt more well-rounded, and have given the performer more of a chance to play to her obvious strengths. So, a brave attempt at an ambitious concept – with some good acting, but some variable material.

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