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Another One review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘bemusing and slow-paced’

Maxim Storms and Lobke Leirens in Another One at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo: Frank Bassleer Maxim Storms and Lobke Leirens in Another One at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo: Frank Bassleer
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You can always rely on Summerhall’s Big in Belgium programme to throw up some curiosities. Another One begins with two people in beige winter coats shuffling onto stage, awkwardly twitching and jerking. They have made-up faces which look almost like masks. They appear both elderly and newborn.

Existing in their own absurd world for an hour (there’s a huge tipi on stage which goes almost entirely unused), these two unnamed characters – played by Maxim Storms and Lobke Leirens – play games with each other. These always involve some element of consensual humiliation: Leirens is repeatedly slapped, Storms shoved against a plywood board – not maliciously or even violently, just perfunctorily.

It’s perhaps most easily interpreted as a commentary on co-dependance and power in relationships, but Another One is just a little too perplexing to be enjoyable, hindered not by its opacity so much as by its humourlessness. Leirens and Storms plod along in silent slowness, half-human beings walled off from the audience by their own weirdness.

There are moments that shine – a ridiculously fast and nonsensical card game and a nightmarish episode in which two bears eat a dead bird – but for the most part this is a po-faced, stilted affair.

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A bemusing, slow-paced performance of ritualised games