Echoes review at Zoo, Edinburgh – ‘clunky, cliche-ridded, incomprehensible’

Echoes at Zoo Echoes at Zoo
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For a bit, it seems a though Echoes is going to be really cool. There’s a long, steel table. A sinister chap in a suit, clicking a pen and sweating behind his glasses. Another bloke, tied up, eyes covered, headphones on. A thumping electronic score. Then the duo start talking. There’s losing something in translation, then there’s this.

Part of me wishes they had kept Lorenzo De Liberato’s play in Italian, because at least then I could imagine they were saying something intelligent and interesting. As it is, Echoes has been translated into clunky, cliche-ridden, incomprehensible English. It scans like James Bond dialogue written by a five-year-old Beckett.

We’re in a dystopian future. A bomb’s been dropped on a million people. Marco Quaglia – the bespectacled baddy – did it. Stefano Patti – the good guy, hood and headphones removed – is really angry about it. They talk elliptically, nonsensically, of power and politics. They point guns at each other. They turn out to be brothers. They shout a lot.

It’s a shame, because the production is slick and stylish, underscored by a pulsating soundscape and enlivened by two fever-pitched performances from Quaglia and Patti. If only they had something good to perform.

An intensely staged Italian import let down by a clunky, incomprehensible translation