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The Simple Things in Life

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The Simple Things in Life, which takes place in a series of sheds in the peaceful surroundings of the Royal Botanic Gardens, offers a unique escape from the usual business of the Fringe. Audience members see three of five artist commissions by Fuel Theatre, depending on the 'journey' through the Gardens they have booked.

My experience began with Science Fete and Particle Accelerator Open Day, a hilarious live-animation-lecture-gig, by the gloriously silly London Snorkelling Team. With an 'OHP mixer' controlling the band - quite a sight squeezed into one little shed – and a science talk taking in topics as diverse as looting by Einstein, a fight between Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking and the annual creation of a 'meat shower', this performance is pure, nonsensical delight.

Next up, Makiko's Shed, by contemporary dance choreographer Frauke Requardt, is an unnerving experience. The audience sit on benches lining the walls of the shed, watching as the fortunately petite Makiko dances around the tiny remaining space. Her movements are reflected in the mirrors that adorn each wall, mirrors that also, of course, reflect the faces of the audience. Catching a glimpse of yourself watching the action is a rather peculiar sensation, but not an unpleasant one.

Lewis Gibson's piece, the final performance of my 'journey', is a far more convivial affair. Sitting in a shed done up with maps of the British Isles and garden furniture, a soundtrack coming directly to our ears via headphones, we are invited to consider the processes of listening, reading and seeing, and the way that the noises we hear affect our responses. It's a deeply relaxing, cocoon-like experience and a lovely end to this trio of charming and eccentric theatrical happenings.


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