Where the White Stops (Edinburgh Fringe)

This new play, a winner of the IdeasTap Underbelly Award, tells the ‘great adventure of Crab and her tragic obsession with the unknown’

Four storytellers begin this Antler production by telling us about ‘the White’ that surrounds the village, and introducing us to Crab, the first to enter it. Dressed in furs and rags, and carrying all the various props and costumes on their backs, we are drawn into a makeshift fairy tale world, and accompany Crab as she tries to find the edge of the White.

This is a passionately performed story, and there is a lot of invention with space, lighting and props. There is also an off-kilter humour about these four hapless performers, trying to tell a tale with limited means.

But the changes of tone are sometimes clunky, and the story itself lacks direction or momentum. With little background, it’s hard to know why Crab is so keen to reach the edge, and as the characters are either stereotypes or under-developed, the pathos, when it comes, is difficult to engage with.

At the start there is a sense of chaotic child-like imagination, but as the story progresses, rather like Crab’s journey into the White, there is less to enchant, and a feeling that this trip has no ultimate purpose. An underwhelming tale, but with flair and fun in the telling.

– Tom Sudron

Where the White Stops continues at Underbelly, Cowgate until 25 August