Pooh and Prah | «The Guardian»

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Special report: the Edinburgh festival 2001 

This bizarre, beautiful piece from Russia’s Akhe Group is bleaker than Beckett, funnier than the circus and more heartbreaking than any slushy movie. It’s a difficult, wordless work that turns the death of love into a series of theatrical conjuring tricks, a manic parade of disconnected incidents and images.There are three quick-change artists on stage; they keep their hearts in a suitcase and their guns aimed directly at each other — although you sometimes wonder whether these people even see each other.

The woman and two men come together and separate like balls of mercury. A man drinks the last drop in a bottle and yet stares into its depths as if hoping for more. The woman pushes across a table a tiny wind-up toy of a child on a scooter; a man quickly pockets it. With its paper boats, fluffy clouds and endless transformations, this is sometimes like watching adults playing a children’s game deadly seriously.

The piece is manic and mechanical, absurdist and despairing. Love is sprinkled with sand, destroyed by fire, wiped away, annihilated. So is the performance. At the end there is just a wrecked stage empty of people. And silence.

Source: The Guardian
Author: Lyn Gardner
Saturday 25 August 2001