Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Edinburgh Festival Fringe - The Book of Love - Review

The Book of Love by Lindsay Benner
Venue 88, Just the Fancy: The Caves – 8-12 Niddry St. S.
August 6 – 29 (except 18 & 25th)


Lindsay Benner - Love as a Juggling Act

She's dressed in vivid red and throughout her act she doesn't say a word. Of course if I had read the flyer properly I would have known this. But sometimes it's the surprises that make all the difference, the delightful quirks of the unexpected.

This year's Fringe has been like that for me, full of serendipity. I decided to go and see Lindsay Benner's show a) because I liked the look of her flyer, which instead of the usual slip of glossy paper, is an A6 card, a work of art in itself, b) because I enjoyed talking to her as she was handing them out, I liked her friendly manner which was warm and personal and c) because I'd got the date of another show wrong and was unexpectedly free at 4.30 pm, just enough time to find the venue and get a ticket.

It just so happens that I enjoy mime – because of the way it bypasses the intellect and leaves you free to focus on the skilful evocation of moods and feelings through the body's movement and the facial expressions, and so your attention is captured in a different way. And Lindsay certainly holds your attention.

The Book of Love is a comedy, Lindsay acting out the different stages of love, from Finding Mr. Right to loss-induced madness, with 2 or 3 stages in between. But there is a further stage, I hasten to add.

The background music certainly helps, as do various members of the audience she invites to share with her – in movement or, in one memorable scene, a 'meal' (which turns out to be rather unusual!). Her warmth and ability to engage with her audience certainly comes across – but what particularly impressed me was her very real juggling skill. Balancing an increasing number of cups and teapot on her head, she then lies down, gets up again, and proceeds to start juggling with swords as well!

Lindsay's Fringe Poster, designed by R. Black, a Berkeley artist, was one of only 5 selected to be featured in the Art Works? Section of Fest magazine, a free Festival Guide.

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