Roy lies in a hospital bed suffering from depression and unable to move. When he meets little Alexandria he sees an opportunity to escape, but must first gain her trust. He concocts elaborate tales drawing on ancient myths that become increasingly vivid and violent, but captivate the seven-year-old. Accompanied by stunning animated projections and a live score, this 30-minute adaptation of Tarsem Singh’s 2006 film The Fall attempts to tell the story of an unconventional friendship and discovery of selflessness – but doesn’t manage to achieve the poignancy they aim for.
A four-strong team of animators have created a near-constant projection of fantastical images from Roy’s stories. Merging with the video that is Alexandria rather than using a live actor, there is a moving blend of the real world and the imaginary. The effect is one of extraordinary beauty, narrated by a live Roy from his on-stage bed. Combined with live accompaniment, this is by far the strongest element of the show.
Directors Tarzan and Imojane focus more on the visual and aural than the actors’ performances, though. The pace is unvarying and too fast, with little variation – as if the text is being read rather than performed. It seems as if the performers had the projection timing dictated to them, without regard for their natural rhythms of speech. This has a devastating effect on the production as a whole, making it an amateurish half an hour to sit through.
At only half an hour, there’s not much room for Roy’s backstory to develop. Little is conveyed about his reasons for manipulating Alexandria and what is, is done superficially. More time and additional direction of the performers would go a long way in making The Fall a complete piece of multimedia performance, as the focus on the projections and score have been the primary focus so far. At the moment, it feels like more of a work-in-progress than a complete piece.
The Fall runs through 19 March.
The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.