Roots, Church Hill Theatre, Review

Edinburgh Festival review
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Suzanne Andrade (Writer & Director); Paul Barritt (Animation & Design); Esme Appleton (Co-Director); Lillian Henley (Composer); Francesca Simmons (Additional Material); David Insua-Cao (Additional Material); Sarah Munro (Costume Designer); Dominic Biddle (Assistant Director); Anne Rotzek (Animation Assistant); Max Gallagher (Composer’s Assistant); Nathan Johnson (Production Manager); Jo Crowley (Producer)
Suzanne Andrade, Esme Appleton, David Insua-Cao, Francesca Simmons (Performers); Carmel McNeil-O’Connor, Dashka, David Appleton, Joan Brooks, Karl Mengs, Kazuko Hohki, Lesley Ewan, Marie James, Nigel Hunt, Pete Brooks, Phil Shaw, Rocky Shahan, Wendy Barritt (Storytellers’ Voices)
Running time

Atmospheric, dark and quirky, this show uses animation, live actors, live music and pre-recorded voiceovers in telling the unusual fairy tales presented. With the animation appearing on a drop-down screen, the actors work with the projected images, in front and behind it, with a skill that is beautifully timed and fascinating to watch.

The vignettes vary in length, with no clear link other than the darkness of the tale. There are some wonderful comedic sections that cause almost uneasy laughter in the audience, partly because of the darkness of the tales. The era-specific quality of the piece helps to distance the audience from some of the uncomfortable messages, with the otherworldly feeling depicted through the use of clown face make-up. Added surreal elements include the use of unusual instruments and musical sounds.

It is the type of show that will leave you wondering quite what you have seen: thought-provoking, unsettling and yet still entertaining. It may not be for everyone, but for those who like their entertainment dark and unconventional, this should appeal.

Times: 17-25 August (not 21), 7:30pm; 17, 22, 24 August, 3:00pm