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Edinburgh Reviews: KlaxAlterian Sequester & Wrapped Up In This

Edinburgh Reviews: KlaxAlterian Sequester & Wrapped Up In This

Edinburgh Reviews: KlaxAlterian Sequester & Wrapped Up In This cover photo on Stagedoor
The first of Lyn Gardner's dispatches from the Edinburgh Fringe looks at two form-breaking online shows

If you have ever wondered how alien life might view the human condition, then KlaxAlterian Sequester(Assembly Showcatcher-on demand) is the show to make you see your own life and home through the eyes of someone from another world. It is an oddly unsettling audio experience.

It makes you consider more closely everyday things you just take for granted and barely notice. Why is there always a mirror in a space—the bathroom—used primarily for purgatorial purposes? Or what about windows which are “a designated space for visibility” not for access but to create distance and safety. I now view my kitchen as a place of corpses, burning, freezing and libations.

Created by Ben Beckley and Asa Wember for New York based company Dutch Kills, and intended to be experienced in your own home when alone, it takes the form of an urgent message from the future about alien invasion. Earth has fallen on evil days, the only way humanity can save ourselves from enslavement is if we can explain who we are and how we live.

KlaxAlterian Sequester

The spirit of John Milton’s Paradise Lost hovers over a very deftly put together show which is cleverly formed and whose set-up and narrative dovetail neatly with the digital form. I like that. From what I’ve seen so far, I wish more online shows on the Edinburgh fringe this summer were playing with digital as a form rather than simply offering filmed versions of the stage show.

Some sections of KlaxAlterian Sequester outstay their welcome, and there are moments when it is a mite soporific, but it makes you look at your own home and yourself in the mirror entirely differently. It makes you surprise yourself.

There is a different kind of othering in Mele Broomes’ hypnotic Wrapped Up in This (Summerhall online), a dance show of quiet resistance with a molten angry core. Broomes, first glimpsed emerging glittering out of a blue haze on an otherwise empty stage, represents not just herself but the black womxn of the past and present and future who have cleaned up after others.

Broomes’ piece would be pertinent at any time but has a stiletto like significance as we emerge from a pandemic when it is front line workers, many of them women and many working in care homes, who have faced far higher infection rates and risk of death.

In Wrapped Up in This-- featuring terrific lighting by Robbie Thomson and numinous costumes from Sabrina Henry-- the recorded voices of womxn who care is woven into Broomes dynamic movement –an enticing mix of the ritualised, the powerful and the vulnerable. A solo show becomes a choral piece one that speaks to centuries of unheard history and tries to embrace a different future. Broomes stares into the camera, her gaze unflinching, as if daring us to make the leap.

Cover image from Wrapped Up in This.

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Lyn Gardner

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