WANTED
Pleasance, Edinburgh
August, 2000

"Fresh from the underground shelters of Tel Aviv", proclaims the publicity material. The Fringe has not seen this calibre of physical/visual theatre from Israel since the glory days of Tmu-Na several years ago. Theatre Clipa, however, take a very different approach. Wanted is a wordless piece about a little man's quest for official papers, the apparent disintegration of the bureaucrat who repeatedly thwarts him, and a clutch of other scenes which, although visually striking, are frankly hard to decipher.

The four shaven-headed performers move on a dimly lit stage, and both before and (in shadowplay) behind a screen on which still pictures or picture sequences are projected. The bureaucrat's office at one point seems to dissolve around him, as various items of desk furniture float into the air and he progresses into a series of ever wilder fantasies and delusions. A variety of strange beings inhabit the underworld beneath his desk. Meanwhile, once the little man has obtained his papers, he is so overjoyed that his heart gives out, and we are plunged into a world of shades and spirits (I presume), including a staggeringly beautiful "human mirrorball" routine.

Where Hopeless Games succeeds by leaving us room to paint our own interpretations on their impressionistic routines, the nagging problem with Wanted is that, behind all the discipline and inventiveness, there is frequently a specific meaning which we are simply not getting.

Written for the Financial Times Web site, ft.com

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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