Mark Ludmon reviews The Accident Did Not Take Place by YESYESNONO at the Pleasance Courtyard as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.
Amid the multitude of theatre at Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a show that questions if performance – or any other media – can ever convey the real truth of an event or experience. In The Accident Did Not Take Place, theatre company YESYESNONO seeks to find a way to make the crash of a plane seem real if we were not there. By repeatedly staging the final moments on board, the cast use gestures, words and physical movement to make us feel the reality of this horrific calamity.
Each day, a different unwitting professional actor joins the ensemble – we saw Matthew Wells from Rhum and Clay’s The War of the Worlds (another show exploring reality and fakeness). The guest is relentlessly directed and coached by the other three performers – Emma Clark, Jonathan Hawkins and Tilda O’Grady – distilling and reworking those final moments to find some kind of meaning.
Like a demanding audition or acting class, it pushes repetition to breaking point but, as the show continues, it feels that nothing on stage can have the truth of reality except the wordless power of human contact. It is not always clear what points the show is trying to make but this is a fascinating and intriguing theatrical exercise.
Running to 26 August 2019