Pulse Fringe Festival
The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches, Impetuous Kinship, New Wolsey Studio, 7 June
Pulse Fringe: The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches, New Wolsey Studio, 7 June
Having conquered the Edinburgh Fringe festival, the innovative new production company Impetuous Kinship brought their richly mysterious adaptation of Gaétan Soucy's The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches, to the New Wolsey Studio.
Through a rapid first person narrative, we see the world through the naïve eyes of Alice, trapped in a fairytale inspired world, derived from the neo-biblical teachings of her recently deceased father and the “dictionaries” of her mind. Alice must leave her decaying estate in order to purchase a coffin, having never communicated with anyone other than her brother or father and believing that she is in fact a boy herself; the audience observes intently as madness ensues and terror unfolds.
The intrigue and confusion of this piece is heightened by disturbing elements which are gradually unveiled through Alice's deeply confusing dialogue, entrenched with spoonerisms and distorted syntax; her incestuous pregnancy, a terrifying secret in “the vault” that may or may not be her dead, or rather “defunct” mother and an imprisoned twin sister.
The sprite-like genius that is Marcia Carr, who also directed and adapted this truly ambitious monologue, tackles it with an exhausting energy, gesticulating with the desperate movements not dissimilar to those of a mime. With brief, sporadic infusions of folk music and delicate humour, the piece maintains a rather light-hearted innocence and the accompanying video screen breaks the fantasy, providing a medium for the supporting characters. However, the insane complexity of the dialogue rather dominates the piece, rendering it almost impossible for the audience to divert its gaze from Carr for fear of missing a vital clue as to what exactly is going on.
It would be hopeless for one to communicate the level of confusion that shrouds this production and it certainly leaves many questions unanswered, however, this does not detract from its extraordinarily dark beauty which leaves the audience feeling both troubled and moved. In order for this piece to be sufficiently appreciated it would have to be viewed at least twice, perhaps then one could begin to fathom the answers beyond the surface of this surreal tale.
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