Following on from last year’s critical hit Every Wild Beast, Lion House Theatre return to Edinburgh with their latest production: From Dust. Gilly is an isolated and clearly troubled man, living alone in the forest until a Renault Clio breaks down nearby on New Year’s Eve. Begrudgingly, Gilly decides to help and, in doing so, unwittingly involves himself in an adventure that slowly spirals out of control.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact style of Lion House’s production. Elements of storytelling, theatre, puppetry, spoken word and music all merge together in a slick, seemingly effortless, manner. From Dust is intensely atmospheric, merging the mystical with the mundane. Ethereal forests contrast starkly with closed train stations as the lyrical narrative leads us elegantly through the tale. This is a show which invites you to suspend your disbelief and disconnect from the cynicism of the bustling outside world, evoking nostalgic mythology and folklore. This is a fairy tale for the modern age.
‘Bursting with poignancy, tenderness and humanity’
From a technical perspective, From Dust is up to professional standards. Each performance is carefully pitched and executed with care and subtlety whilst a beautiful set and intelligent lighting design reinforce the world crafted by the narrative. There is an occasional slip into information overload, as the narrator gives a barrage of exposition, albeit well written. Although the production always brings it back on track, a bit of simplification here and there wouldn’t go amiss. Additionally, the storytelling-based style cultivated by the company longs for an intimate setting which has been lost slightly since the company scaled up from Every Wild Beast. Although there is a definite warmth to the story, it seems to be reaching for a personal connection and falling slightly short. However, in the grand scheme of an otherwise exquisite production these are minor quibbles.
From Dust is another wonderfully captivating production from Lion House Theatre. Bursting with poignancy, tenderness and humanity, this show is charming and utterly enchanting throughout.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 2nd – 28th August (not 14th) 12:45
Image: Lion House Theatre