Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh
August, 1992

Virginia Woolf's "fantastical pseudo-biography" traces the 400-year life of the magnetic lover Orlando, and his affairs both as man and woman. The inspiration for Orlando was Woolf's lover Vita Sackville-West, and Robin Brooks's adaptation interlaces chapters from the book with scenes between Woolf, West and other Bloomsburyites. Red Shift theatre company's stylistic trademarks are well in evidence, the cast of four scrambling in and out of costumes on stage and taking turns to accompany the action on glockenspiel and melodica. However, a workable ending eludes them as the threads of the play become snarled in a gimmicky update (complete with dry ice) to the present day. It is a frustrating finish to an otherwise energetic and entertaining show.

Written for The Independent.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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