Young critics scheme review
Institut français d’Ecosse (Venue 134): Fri 7 – Mon 31 Aug 2015
There is an interesting perspective on discrimination and identity in Skins and Hoods at the French Institute.
Although sometimes tricky to interpret, the plot is well constructed and nicely communicated by the actors who are present both on-screen and onstage.
Moyo Akande. Photo: Albie Clark
George (Moyo Akande) is an eight year old girl who is lacking a sense of self fuelled by her mothers lack of compassion. Her friend Mamadou (Thierry Mabonga) relates to her, which makes her wonder why they physically and culturally differ, in ways including skin colour.
As the plot develops, George is seen by others in different lights as she physically changes herself, and the main message of the play becomes apparent: nobody can change their skin colour and nobody should judge anyone based on skin colour.
The highlight of the performance comes from the blend of technology with on stage action. By having George’s mother as an on-screen projection and George being present onstage, there is a struggle to relate to her mother, creating empathy for George and communicating the idea that their relationship is far from close.
Director Matthieu Roy perfectly conducts the scenes where real actors and projected actors mix – ensuring everything is timed correctly and making for a seamless feel to the performance.distracting
Some parts of the show can seem somewhat confusing, however. Although the basic skeleton of the plot is very apparent, the line between metaphors and key plot points can become blurry, which can be a little distracting.
The show works well with the small cast of onstage actors. Thierry Mabonga as Mamadou stands out, conveying a sense of longing and despair whilst also retaining the childhood innocence that serves us as a reminder that the story is seen through a child’s eyes. His performance seems natural and, although he features relatively briefly, he shines in a simplistic way.
Overall, the show works well as a new way of narrating familiar themes, however falls short, by being slightly confusing. The quirky, tech-heavy direction helps tie together some of the main issues faced by the characters, and makes for impressive visuals.
Skins and Hoods is a fast-paced, surreal, but inventive, production that is sure to surprise. You will have never seen anything similar.
Running time: 45 minutes
Institut français d’Ecosse (Venue 134), 13 Randolph Crescent, EH3 7TT
Friday 7 – Monday 31 August 2015
Daily (not Mons 10, 17, 24): 2pm.
Book tickets on the EdFringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/skins-and-hoods