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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 August, 2003, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Fringe reviews: Materiali Resistenti
A water-based dance performance proves to be no washout at the Fringe.

By Helena Thompson in Edinburgh

The setting adds to the atmosphere

A four-meter-high purpose built waterfall complete with 16,000 litres of water is a first even for Edinburgh venues.

Unphased by the growing number of festival shows taking place in loos, vans or kitchens, Materiali Resistenti Dance Factory are a company who have long held innovation dear.

A collaboration with Teatro della Tosse, the focus of their latest visual spectacle is nothing more and nothing less than movement.

With dexterity and grace, the 12-strong company's controlled performance captures the strength and unpredictability of water, and the setting takes on a fantastical quality that compliments the heightened and provocative performance.

The show is wet in the best sense, and packs a breathtaking punch for all its ethereal preoccupations.

As a concept the idea of dance with water owes much to the Bollywood wet sari tradition, and some of the humour of that genre is evident here.


Exploring the sheer capacity for joy within water and the human body, the show pays tribute to the power of nature in all her incarnations.

Locked in a vivid cycle of fatigue and transcendence, the performers offer a neat metaphor for what life is all about.

For the dancers' skill is beguiling enough to steal the limelight from their glistening set. Twisting and spinning like melting apparitions, the wrenching choreography plummets the depths of love and loss.

Moving without being sentimental, the show walks a fine line and never misses a beat.

For all involved, the water turbine and regulation wetsuits are well worth the trouble.

The dancers' eclectic blend of swing, jazz and classical dance makes for an infectiously engaging show, and the spraying hoses forever twirling take audience involvement to a new level.

The performers' transparent raincoats only add to the fun.

Waterwall is at the Old College Quad until 24 August.

Playing the Victim

The Presnyakov brothers are no ordinary pair.

Taking collaboration to a new extreme, the talented Russian duo have teamed up with the Royal Court and Told By An Idiot theatre company.

Playing the Victim
The play reconstructs muders

Even more surprisingly, the director of their play is One Foot In The Grave actor Richard Wilson.

The focus of so much energy is elusive in the extreme.

All the more intriguing for being hard to pin down, the siblings who authored last year's dark hit Terrorism are back with an understated vengeance.

Cue a punchy follow up about a university drop out desperate to play the victim in murder constructions.

Actors Paul Hunter, Hayley Carmichael and Amanda Lawrence rise to the challenge.

They are the subtle stars of this six-strong cast, and their familiarity with mime as well as text equips them well for this particular script.

The trick to the Presnyakovs' disconcerting brand of naturalism is a brooding preoccupation with the psychological, and those on stage do well to capture the quaking despair at the play's core.

For at heart this streetwise farce is a warning of imminent urban catastrophe.

Passionately socialist and full of the anger that British new plays have lost of late, this angry drama has as much to say about Western values as Russian politics.

The result is that nothing is quite what it seems in this beguiling conundrum of a play.

So deception and corruption weave a multilayered script whose sheer originality offers plenty for everyone.

Told By An Idiot's background in devised performances accounts for the choreography of every stage action, whilst Presnyakovs' finely crafted plot follows in the tradition of well made Royal Court plays.

To Wilson's credit, the direction serves the play so gracefully as to remain invisible. Only fans after a glimpse of the TV star in the flesh could be disappointed by this show.


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