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Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Andrew Dawson - 'Leitmotif'

Au Cul du Loup - 'Score'

by Lea Marshall

August 2007 -- Assembly Aurora Nova, St. Stephen's Church, Edinburgh, Scotland

In “Leitmotif”, performer Andrew Dawson has woven disparate elements into an intimate personal narrative. Monologue, movement, film and shadow-puppets all play their parts as he describes scenes from his very early adulthood in England. Dawson’s performance is delicate and low-key in a way that makes you lean in to catch all his words. Despite his engaging sweetness, however, Dawson’s slow, contained movement sequences, his quiet voice, and the film of a train journey which he uses as a through-line for the piece combine to create an overly subdued atmosphere which dulls the impact of the work.

The members of Au Cul du Loup must have worked day in and day out for months to concoct so many strange and ingenious instruments, both of sport and sound. “Score” depicts a series of surrealist sporting events, where the movement and attitudes of the players are instantly recognizable from a wide range of games, but the tools they work with have never been seen on any court or field: widely-strung racquets that whistle through the air, wooden frames on long handles pushed, squeaking, across the floor. Most of them defy description, and all of them are fascinating, especially when handled so matter-of-factly by the performers. Fine comedic scenes, such as two wrestlers entirely outfitted in tape who keep getting stuck together, alternate with sequences of strange beauty, such as a forest of slim metal poles which resonate as butterfly bolts spin slowly down each one. In “Score”, Au Cul du Loup have fused brilliant feats of physical engineering into a refreshingly original whole.

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