dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

It Folds review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘harrowing and elegiac’

It Folds by Junk Ensemble and Brokentalkers. Photo: Futoshi Sakauchi It Folds by Junk Ensemble and Brokentalkers. Photo: Futoshi Sakauchi

In 2013, Dublin-based company Brokentalkers brought the gut-thumping Have I No Mouth to Edinburgh, the profoundly personal story of the death of director Feidlim Cannon’s father 10 years previously. This year they return with a similarly mournful collaboration with dance group Junk Ensemble: It Folds, a less spiky work that takes an elegiac route through unimaginable tragedy.
A child has gone missing, possibly abducted, possibly dead. We hear from him in the guise of a white-sheeted ghost, and then we see him as a plaything, thrown back and forth, and then as a child’s corpse, dragged through grave-dirt by a shivering angel. His parents’ marriage falls apart, the father was late picking him up from school, and the mother slaps him as he explains. We see them as two parts of a pantomime horse, ripping itself apart.

The imagery is at once haunting and beguiling, the musical interludes, whether in the form of a ballad strummed on a banjo or a full choir of ghosts that permute the phrase ‘Happy Birthday’, are spine-tingling. But, particularly set against Have I No Mouth, there’s a lack of real edge to the material. The wounds left by that earlier show still sting three years on – It Folds builds and passes like a the shadow of some terrible, beautiful dream.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
Harrowing and elegiac, this is a beautiful but rather soft-focus story of child abduction
^