Torn, manipulate Festival 2014, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Faux Theatre Scotland
Francisca Morton (artistic director, designer), Barney Strachan (foley artist, music composition), Kevan Shaw (lighting design, kinetic art), Melanie Jordan (co-deviser, producer)
Francisca Morton
Running time

A brand new take on an age old theme.

Torn shows a young woman caught in a cleft of loneliness and longing. The ripped and shredded paper that surrounds and nearly drowns her is a metaphor for what seems like her insubstantial life.

In an off-white set that has the crumpled air of chaos like the home of an old hoarder, Francisca Morton’s character exposes her life as a kind of a silent movie without even the voices of radio strangers, only synchronised sounds provided on stage by Barney Strachan.

Using the familiar motif of a garment morphing to a man, Morton’s material mate is a pair of jeans starched to a sexy cowboy stance. Not so much toom tabard as toom troosers! Vulnerable in her pyjamas and paper curlers, she creates a fantasy life around ‘him’, going through the various stages of a conventional relationship with ultimate disappointment.

Morton gives a funny and engaging performance that is full of physicality reflecting her background in dance and performance as she shows the character’s chameleon moods. The sound track of her life is played out before her eyes (or ears?) through the brilliant foley work from Barney Strachan, a role normally invisible but Strachan’s presence on stage showed the fantastic inventiveness involved in this skill. Strachan also provides the excellent bespoke music.

The work is clearly informed by Morton’s background as a hospital play specialist and this is her first work for an adult audience. For all its charm in the physical expression of female sexual longing that is geared to an adult audience, this has the feel of a children’s show with its hallmarks of visual narrative and use of kinetic art from Kevan Shaw that brings surprise and an element of magic. The effect was playfulness over poignancy.

The theme of endless piles of paper is sustained with the show’s programme being handed out scrunched up like the contents of a writer’s waste basket from another time. The Traverse Bar is also graced with the exquisite Divorce Paper Sculpture (or Decree Nisi Dress) by ECA student Molly MacDonell Finlayson.

Show times

4 Feb, 9.15pm

Age recommend 14+