“THE VANISHING POINT” and “MUDFIRE” REVIEWS
The British Theatre Guide The Carpetbag Brigade Jackie Fletcher The Vanishing Point, 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival:
On a rainy Saturday evening, the Carpetbag Brigade’s stilt walking acrobats had to move out of the sodden courtyard into a large room in Edinburgh College of Art. Sitting along one wall in a plain, high-ceilinged room, the audience was able to witness the action at very close range and it was amazing. Towering high above us, but so very close, illuminated only by the daylight shining through the windows, these beautiful insect-like creatures stalked the space like Titans. They swished and hissed and licked and sniffed. They fought and mated and prowled for food with acrobatic stunts.
The Carpetbag Brigade is a pan-American theatre company with performers from the US, Canada and Mexico. Based in San Francisco, they witnessed fires devastating whole forests and wondered what happened to the creatures for which the woodlands are a natural habitat. And that was the inspiration for this show. It is timely as more and more of our natural resources fall prey to human indifference. The Vanishing Point is a show which fills one full of wonder, and reminds us that everything on the planet is interconnected. In the face of Nature, we’re merely puny but arrogant wee souls.
Fabulous acrobatic skills indoors or out!
“YOU DON’T KNOW JACK” REVIEWS
The Metro You Don’t Know Jack : flawed yet fascinating
by TINA JACKSON – Monday, August 18, 2008
You Don’t Know Jack is a flawed and fascinating piece. For all its imperfections, this striking offering from San Francisco ensemble physical theatre company Carpetbag Brigade achieves what many shows on the Fringe fail to do: it grabs your attention and holds it.
The immensely talented cast of five are such strong performers that they imbue their dark, deliciously odd tale of a dead alcoholic and his messed-up family with a hypnotic intensity; it’s impossible not to enter their dysfunctional, fragmented worlds.
Snatches of memory intermingle with scenes from a dark underworld, so that the past and the imaginary become what constitute reality. Sometimes it’s tiring trying to keep up with the story but the physical energy keeps you enthralled.
Like the chaotic life it conveys, the narrative is messy, though the fluid performances of the lithe, disciplined cast are not. Sometimes violent, sometimes haunting, snippets of action show Jack’s drunken mother as she descends into alcoholic lunacy.
Although the threads of Jack’s psychic life, past and memories are sometimes woven so loosely that they begin to unravel in the viewer’s mind, one of the particular strengths of this production is its oddity.
In this case, it’s fitting that live music – plangently lilting snippets of folk songs and wonky sea shanties – communicates more sense than the spoken words, reinforcing the piece’s sense of other-worldliness and its sometimes violent lyricism.
The Scotsman Published Date: 20 August 2008 By Joyce McMillan
YOU DON’T KNOW JACK Dance & Physical Theatre Review: You Don’t Know Jack
The Carpetbag Brigade of San Francisco are a company not to be ignored; and they’re presenting this most extreme and mind-blowing of all the shows on this year’s Fringe about the damaging impact of war. On a stage strewn with domestic debris and paths of stones, featuring a window here, and a teetering tower of authority there, it reflects – for a surreal, enigmatic 50 minutes – on the continuing family legacy of the wartime trauma suffered by Jack’s grandfather. Both little Jack himself, and his mad, self-destructive mother, are stalked by twin demons, male and female; nor is there much sign, in the show’s beautifully choreographed ending, that they will ever be laid to rest.