Suppose, just suppose, that your mind and body lived separately from each other. That having started out life together they went through a divorce in which the marital estate was divided up. How would they get along? What would they miss? Could they survive without each other other? Might there even be a reconciliation?

Spool is a tranquil, ponderous, mesmeric work, the like of which is rarely seen.

This extraordinary prospect forms the substance of Spool, created and performed by nineteen-year-old duo Finn Cooke and Otto Farrant. They both have theatre experience. Otto has many TV credits, and for several of the scenes Finn draws on his training at the Royal Ballet School, but this is their first collaboration. Judging by the quality and originality of this work, it is to be hoped their partnership continues.

The initial unity of body and mind is symbolised by the length of rope that ties them together. In a series of dialogues they converse with each other and delineate their respective areas of governance. In an amusing bedroom scene reason and emotion turn to each other for advice during a sexual encounter that highlights their different understandings and perspectives. The innovative vertical bed is part of the set design by Jake Misha Lau that contains some standard items of furniture and a versatile moveable frame that functions as a mirror and door. Combined with changing lights it is particularly suggestive in creating the opening to different locations in an extended travel sequence.

Spool is a tranquil, ponderous, mesmeric work, the like of which is rarely seen. The balance between text, movement and imagery engenders a captivatingly slow pace. For the most part language is used sparingly, leaving time to observe and wonder to the accompaniment of Duncan Roche’s synergistic soundscape. Silence speaks and gestures suggest; the mood at times being mournful and sad, haunting and enchanting, a pensive lament.

This endearingly ridiculous and ludicrously delightful work is a rare find among all the frantic activity of the Festival Fringe and the shouting shows. It is a soft, gentle, beguilingly ingenious piece; the product of fertile minds and vivid imaginations. It is full of promise for further development and latent expectations of similar works, but you should first see it here; it’s a wonderful nightcap. Sweet dreams.

Reviews by Richard Beck

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The Blurb

Throughout a series of vignettes (and the entirety of their stay in Edinburgh), London-based collaborators Otto Farrant (BBC’s War & Peace) and Finn Cooke (The Royal Ballet School) are tied together. In this exploration of relationships, ideas have ideas of their own and possessions have personalities. A conversation with all things that make us us.

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