Thirst of The Salt Mountain

Taking on Romanian playwright Marin Sorescu’s Thirst of the Salt Mountain was never going to be an easy task and unfortunately, on this occasion, Squall + Frenzy weren’t quite up to the challenge. The play itself is very text-laden and presented in this way wasn’t much of a help in digesting it.

To give praise where it is due, the three actual actors had learned all of their lines and I’m not saying this to be patronising, as it was a two hour show with language less than straight forward; so the mere fact that they managed to trudge through it all without faltering is something to be congratulated.

The opening scene, occupied by a schizophrenic Jonah, was confusing to say the least. It seemed to switch between one character to two and three characters then back to one without much distinction, so it was unclear as to whether we were witnessing the ramblings of a mad man or a play with too few actors.

To give praise where it is due, the three actual actors had learned all of their lines and I’m not saying this to be patronising, as it was a two hour show with language less than straight forward; so the mere fact that they managed to trudge through it all without faltering is something to be congratulated. However the delivery, in parts, wasn’t quite up to scratch and in some instances was actually quite annoying.

The acting was a little too over dramatic with wailing and grimaces throughout, before a very bizarrely abrupt ending where the cast members nearly drowned themselves with a bottle of water before marching off stage never to come back.

Elements were well thought out though, the actors-come-stagehands moved from scene to scene in an eerie green light with deadpan expressions almost as if they had momentarily lapsed into a dream. The set was minimal but worked well and I enjoyed the way they created the inside of the whale and the empty cathedral with just a few palettes and a sheet of plastic at their disposal.

The digital and sound features unfortunately also let them down. If you are going to advertise the inclusion of “digital media” in you show then, as an audience member, I would have expected slightly more than a photograph or short clip of running water to be projected onto the back wall. The same can be said of the “live sound” elements which encompassed little more than somebody gurgling water, followed by the sloshing around of a plastic bottle.

Simplifying the set was a good idea but when choosing a play with such gravitas it may have come across better if they had simplified the text too. If they had interpreted it more for a Fringe-going audience then it may have been better received and a lot less exhausting to watch! 

Reviews by Bethan Troakes

Broadway Lounge

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★★★★
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★★★★
The Warren: Studio 2

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★★
Brighton Spiegeltent

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★★★★★
Distrikt

Ballistic

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Brighton’s own experimental theatre ensemble, Squall + Frenzy, present a brand new translation of award-winning Romanian playwright Marin Sorescu’s pioneering surrealist work, 'Thirst Of The Salt Mountain'.