Fringe: Last Dream (On Earth)

Before you enter the theatre you are handed a set of headphones.

Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 5:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 6:43 pm
Last Dream (On Earth), Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016

Last Dream (On Earth)

Assembly Hall, Rainy Hall (Venue 35)

Rating: ****

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As you walk down the corridor you put them on and can hear the musicians delivering some chilled, ambient music, and the occasional spoken word.

On stage the five-strong cast are seated, and they move only occasionally throughout this captivating performance which links two very different but life changing journeys.

One is Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut, preparing for his ground-breaking flight into space, and the other is un-named migrants trying to paddle their inflatable boat across the world’s busiest shipping line to a new life in Spain.

The narratives are interwoven and accompanied by a magnificent score, and all made the more intense by listening through your headphones.

You pick up on every whisper and vocal tick layered within the soundtrack, and are drawn into the stories.

The narrative on Gagarin is based on the recorded dialogue with his ground crew in the ,moments leading to his epic space voyage takes flight.

The minutia of those last minutes before take-off are filled with the mundane - technical checks and personal re-assurance - and culminates in total silence as the cosmonaut prepares to be hurled from this planet.

Several generations after we put men into space and, ultimately, on to the moon, we cannot get people to safety from desperately troubled times,

The story of the un-named refugees trying to get from Tunisia to Spain and a new life.

They explain the incredible challenges of simply getting to the shore and finding a vessel - in this case a pitifully inadequate inflatable - and then, once at sea, the sheer scale of the task that lies ahead.

They cannot go back as to return is to be deemed a failure, and yet moving forward means putting your life on the life for every single minute of a truly perilous journey until you find land, and sanctuary.

It’s a performance filled with humanity and intensity, and the use of headphones for everyone - including the cast - makes it a unique, hypnotic entrancing experience.

Run ends August 28

Allan Crow