Clare Walters, the original director of The Ballad of Halo Jones stage play, reviews Manolibera, a comics-inpsired show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe…
Manolibera is a very charming and ingenious show. A technician is called in to operate a slideshow about a big corporation but, left to his own devices, he begins to doodle on the slides and quickly calls the two actors playing the earnest corporation bosses into his creative and adventurous landscape.
The action moves quickly as the two characters reveal their lives together, take a trip in their red car, visit the seaside, sail a boat and land on a desert island and discover oil which leads to the founding of the corporation.
The actors become part of the cartoon world and sometimes their surroundings are being created around them as they rapidly move from scene to scene. I saw the show on a Saturday afternoon and the whole atmosphere in C venues was like an old film matinee when no-one knew quite what was going to happen next. Children were burbling with delight and adults were rapt. One of my favourite moments was when the technician was colouring in the car and the red pen was spilling over the actor’s white clothing. It’s not high-art cartoon drawing but it is vivid and effective work.
The cartoon format meant that the action was relentless which made the show quite enervating – nothing ever went right for the two characters. The action is also very pacey and the use of language minimal. The female character shrieks virtually throughout and an array of vocal sounds are as important as words in any language – English, French or Italian.
The storytelling is very satisfying and the artwork great fun. The precision of the movements of the actors and props and the work of the artist whether in positioning predrawn slides or drawing around and on top of the actors is faultless.
This show is unique and great fun.
• downthetubes Fringe rating:
• Manolibera runs until Monday 31st August at 15:55hrs (16:55hrs) at the C VENUE (venue 34). Tickets are £6.50-£11.50. Box Office: 0845 260 1234
• Fringe Tickets from: www.CtheFestival.com or on the door of venues
• Manolibera is written and Performed by Michele Cremaschi, Michele Eynard and Anna Fascendini with music by Django Reinhardt
• Scarlattine Teatro is part of Espresso! – a selection of four theatre, comedy and dance companies at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival – all performing at C Venues. Sponsored by the Milanese banking foundation, Fondazione Cariplo, Espresso! is part of the Être Project – Esperienze Teatrali di Residenza (residential theatre experiences) that financially supports emerging companies from the Lombardy region in Italy.
Other companies performing at C Venues as part of the Espresso! season include Dionisi with Serate Bastarde (Bastard Nights), Animanera with Or[f]unny and Sanpapiè with Boh!
“This inventive import from Italy is great fun for a while as a pair of actors perform in mime and gibberish while a third projects cartoon overlays on them, occasionally drawing in alterations…”
“Although not strictly speaking a children’s show (it’s in the Dance & Physical Theatre section of the Fringe programme), this is a wonderful example of how a piece of theatre can cross the generational divide. Italian company, Scarlattine Teatro has brought together two distinct talents – character acting and drawing – and turned them into a seriously clever piece of fun…”
• Official web site: manoliberateatroafumetti.wordpress.com
• Manolibera italian Web Site (In Italian)
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