EDINBURGH 2023: Review: THE LIFE SPORADIC OF JESS WILDGOOSE, Above At Pleasance Courtyard

Voloz Collective showcases their second Fringe show until August 28

By: Aug. 28, 2023
Edinburgh Festival
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EDINBURGH 2023: Review: THE LIFE SPORADIC OF JESS WILDGOOSE, Above At Pleasance Courtyard EDINBURGH 2023: Review: THE LIFE SPORADIC OF JESS WILDGOOSE, Above At Pleasance Courtyard Following their successful  5 star sister-show The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much, Voloz Collective continues to showcase magical physical theatre through their introspective thriller The Life Sporadic of Jess Wildgoose. The set is minimal, but that doesn't matter. From birds to cars to bartender counters and water coolers, every set piece, animal and prop is created solely through this talented four-person ensemble, accompanied by sound designer and musician Frederick Waxman. 

Self-described as "Martin Scorsese meets Wes Anderson meets Pixar," the piece follows a Kansas country girl determined to get a job on Wall Street. The piece has funny moments yet deals with underlying issues many Millennials/Gen Z-ers know all too well.

Olivia Zerphy beautifully portrays Jess - she is driven and intelligent, yet an industry dominated by masculine nepotism proves no easy feat. After discovering a self-help book Jess gains the confidence and oomph required to get a foot in the door at Thunderstrike Industries, a big company making big bucks. She becomes powerful, rich and riled with ambition... which starts working to her detriment.

Written and devised by the company, the piece is a clever satirical commentary on the limits of ambition and the challenges of modern employment. Breathtaking images are created, particularly when Jess stands on the ledge of a high-rise building contemplating death. Paul Lofferon, Emily Wheatman and Sam Rayner are powerful co-stars, adding to the brisk effortlessness of the play as they seamlessly switch between characters, animals and inanimate objects.

The downside of showcasing two Fringe performances is that people will inevitably compare them. The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much was one of my top shows this year, so Jess Wildgoose had a lot to live up to. This piece has a different vibe - a heavier undertone, movement which feels more symbolic and less dynamic. Occasionally the plot is too esoteric - as someone not familiar with financial jargon, I found bits challenging to follow.

Is it worth seeing? Absolutely, it is an incredible piece of theatre. 

The Life Sporadic of Jess Wildgoose is at The Pleasance Courtyard until August 28


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