BWW Review: SAGA, Etcetera Theatre
Based on August Strindberg's A Dream Play (1901), SAGA is an effective blend of text and physical comedy, investigating what happens when an outsider visits a place that has problems. Presented by Stones Theatre Company, the ensemble consists of four talented bi-lingual actresses, (Frida Storm, Julia Florimo, Olivia Skoog and Marie Rabe), who share so much delicious chemistry on stage.
The quartet are incredibly playful, multi-rolling their parts throughout and providing some fantastic moments of humour. Some of the characters we're presented with include a follower-obsessed Instagram vlogger, a janitor with a red nose who's desperate for stardom, and the famous footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The 60-minute piece could easily appear as messy and confusing, however Michael Currell's text is bouncy and to the point, therefore avoiding any moments of glibness. You could hear the word 'Brexit' and be forgiven for rolling your eyes. Lots of pieces are discussing it at the moment - for better or worse - but Currell does so in a way that gets the audience on side immediately.
Every political comment that's made is accompanied with a funny line or a slapstick movement sequence. Under Olivia Stone's brilliant direction, the play keeps at a steady pace and remains focused on what it wishes to say. Making great use of the space, the action unfolds seamlessly.
The text alters between English and Swedish, and even though there may be moments where you don't understand the dialogue, you certainly will be able to grasp what's going on in front of you. The cast make sure of that due to their impressive and highly watchable performances.
A superb, satirical look at identity politics, SAGA is a treat of a show that is only going to get better as it develops. I imagine it will go down very well with audiences at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Photography: Jack Lewis Williams