C Aquila (Venue 21), Edinburgh
2-27 August 2018
Guest reviewer: Hugh Simpson
Gleeful physical comedy features in Lucille & Cecilia, a patchy but intriguingly promising piece from new company Bang Average Theatre at C Aquila. (Picture: © Bang Average)
Two circus sea lions feature in a piece devised by the company’s two founders Chloe Darke and Susannah Scott. Lucille (Darke) dreams of escaping to the ocean, while Cecilia (Scott) is happier where she is. There are echoes of classic double acts as their story unfolds through physical theatre, sight gags and some decidedly cheesy jokes.
The potential here is almost boundless. Much of the physical theatre is assured and playful, whether the characters are the sea lions or Trevor the trainer with his papier-mâché head.
Some of the more absurdist moments, such as a gloriously elongated sequence where Darke reacts to Scott’s attempts to think, are beautifully done. Steve Brownlie’s direction gives the performers ample opportunity to show what they can do.
However, it is not all so successful. Any show that describes itself as ‘surreal’ immediately sets alarm bells ringing, and this does occasionally veer into the self-consciously wacky. The pin-sharp nature of much of the movement makes it more obvious when it does not quite come off.
The idea is rather stretched out, and while this is not a children’s show, there are times when it feels like it wants to be. It is almost a disappointment when the sea lions discover the power of speech early on, as the wordless sequences are in many ways the most communicative.
This all remains extremely likeable, however, and whets the appetite for further work from a duo who clearly have a great deal to offer.