Originally written for Stagewon, August 2012. Edinburgh Fringe.
Melissa Rynn reviews The Fantasist at Underbelly Bristo Square.
Image: Dougie Firth
It’s hard to put into words a particularly queer dream; you can explain what happened and remember key points, but you can never quite touch on the feelings and the absurdity of what exactly takes place. A dystopian nightmare in its topic, The Fantasist is the theatrical equivalent to a full blown vision; both in the amazing standard of the production, and my lack of ability to find the right words to explain it.
The piece itself is a deep work that runs far beneath its spectacular surface of intricate puppets, heightened performances, and carefully choreographed movement. It explores the issue of mental health with a clarity that beams both conviction and sympathy as we follow frustrated artist Louise battle her demons, both creatively and emotionally, while she descends ever more into obscurity of thought and we question what, exactly, reality is.
Producing a performance of profound complexity and raw emotion that clings to you from the offset,Julia Yevnine dazzles in the role of the frustrated creative. A slick and varied assortment of characters played and puppeteered by Catherine Gerrard and Julia Corrêa support the disturbed character well, the combination making for an emotional roller coaster of a ride.
In the brief but complex work, Theatre Temoin have created a vision of beauty. On one level through an aesthetically stunning presentation, finished with precision and finesses. On another through a gripping and gritty examination of mental health that doesn’t patronise and doesn’t hide the truth.