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The Forecast review at Zoo Charteris, Edinburgh – ‘visually arresting but surprisingly flabby’

Limbik Theatre's The Forecast at Zoo Charteris, Edinburgh. Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Limbik Theatre’s adaptation of George Saunders’ short story, The Semplica Girl Diaries, has a nightmarish premise. Set in a near future, the super-rich employ women as living garden ornaments, placed in huge dress-harnesses and physically connected via a surgically-implanted microline through their foreheads.

The women are almost all immigrants, fleeing poverty and political turmoil, supporting their families at home. It’s a last-resort job – uncomfortable, terminally boring and degrading.

While the short story is told from the perspective of the employers, Limbik Theatre focuses solely on the women, giving voice to the oppressed. Though this lends it a stronger sense of political import, I did miss some of the story’s satirical edge which comes from the employer’s voice, obviously blind to the cruelty it is enacting and confused as to why the women would want to escape.

Ben Samuels’ production is certainly visually arresting, with the four dresses standing some eight feet tall, the actors trapped inside them Beckett-style. But for a short story adaptation, it’s surprisingly flabby and runs for 75 minutes. Some of the physical work is a little sloppy and it needs a little time to bed in and tighten up.

 

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Verdict
Visually impressive but baggy adaptation of a George Saunders story

Production Information

Production
The Forecast
Venue
Zoo Charteris
City
Edinburgh
Starts
August 14, 2018
Ends
August 26, 2018
Authors
Ben Samuels, Gael Le Cornec, Sarah Johnson, Ami Buhari, Stevie Thompson, Eva Morkeset, Bola Agbaje
Director
Ben Samuels
Set
Diana Castaldi
Lighting
Pablo Fernandez Baz, Laura Padilha
Sound
Susi Evans
Costume
Diana Castaldi
Technical
Zannie Fraser (puppets), Bola Agbaje, Gael Le Cornec, Ben Samuels (dramaturgy)
Cast includes
Sarah Johnson, Gael Le Cornec, Dami Olukoya, Claire Lacey
Producer
Limbik Theatre
Running time
1hr 15mins