Scenes from an Urban Gothic

Scenes from an Urban Gothic by Theatre Imaginers will certainly appeal to those who have come to the Fringe in search of something different. Through no words or props, James Cross (with direction from Des Truscott) vividly depicts a man’s arrival in London from his countryside paradise. We see his fear and confusion as he adjusts to the culture shock. This hour-long display of mime combined with sound effects is funny, emotive and gripping.

This is physical theatre in its purest form and it makes for an unforgettable evening

It is hard to take one’s eyes off Cross as he performs. He comes to life like a cartoon character on stage and moves as if made of elastic. His bold energy remains consistent throughout the performance and his expressive face displays a wide range of emotions. There is nothing like watching an actor fully believe in the world they are inhabiting on stage, and Cross is in his element here.

The piece is divided into ten scenes and a list of these, with titles, is provided on entry. For the most part it proves unnecessary, as Cross sets the scene well through his movements and expressions. However, there are moments where the mime isn’t quite clear enough. This is the main danger of a show based purely on mime, and Theatre Imaginers need to be cautious of this, especially at the beginning of a piece when the audience is adjusting to the style. The sound effects and music are thankfully all well-chosen and Cross’s movement matches the audio perfectly. I dread to imagine the vast amounts of rehearsal time that go into such synchronisation, but the efforts make for a sleek and polished performance.

This is physical theatre in its purest form and it makes for an unforgettable evening. Unusual and innovative shows such as this make up the beating heart of the Fringe. Scenes from an Urban Gothic embodies what this festival is all about.

Reviews by Carla van der Sluijs

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Have you ever found yourself in a place far different from anything you know, where past and present collide and you don’t understand what to do or say? James arrives in The City to find everything is too busy, too strange and a far cry from anything he’s ever experienced. Scenes from an Urban Gothic is an imaginative, physical show depicting one man’s struggle against a dark and surreal metropolis. See this increasingly nightmarish world conjured right before your very eyes. How can he survive in a place where time waits for no one?