JUNK ENSEMBLE
THE HERALD SCOTLAND

IT FOLDS REVIEW AT SUMMERHALL, EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL 2014

**** FOUR STARS

MARY BRENNAN

18 August 2016

In the same way as grief dislocates sense and shifts the world out of kilter, so It Folds presents like a jigsaw where some pieces have got lost, and those remaining don’t seem to be from the same picture. There’s a white-sheeted ghost, supposedly of a dead boy – but it’s a man’s voice entertaining us with roguish recollections of winding up the local priest by introducing dramatic pauses between phases of the Mass. Do the dead grow old in the afterlife? The lad himself is also on-stage, snuggling into the hugging arms of his murderous abductor – does that mean he died happy? A rackety psychic-for-hire garbles out whatever fiction she thinks will comfort the emotionally gutted parents. The publicity, the prurience, the ongoing police enquiries into their son’s disappearance have left them feeling they’re part of a grotesque circus, but they’re reacting differently – inside their pantomime horse costume, they soon pull apart. The harmony has gone out of their hearts and home. It’s left to the chorus of ghosts to bring proceedings back in tune – are there really birthday parties in the hereafter?

You’ll have gathered that the fragments of sorrow, comedy and mayhem soldered together by theatre company Brokentalkers and dance company Junk Ensemble (Irish entities, both) do not provide a linear narrative. Best, therefore, to emulate the old dears who, robbed of speech – by a stroke, maybe? – try to regain joined-up thinking by attempting word association games with a brisk attendant. Can puzzles haunt and trouble you? This riddle-me-ree is knotty enough to do just that.