Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, run ended
In contemporary times, the idea of what constitutes beauty is no longer left to individual perspective. Our ideas about physical allure are sanctioned by a mass market, which narrows down the number of physicalities permitted as attractive to an officially imposed tits and teeth image. Highway Diner’s contribution to the Traverse’s Cubed3 Mini Festival is a roar against this.
Freely adapted from a novel by JG Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition, this piece tells the story of a young woman (Laura Cameron Lewis) who discovers that her boyfriend (Christopher Morgan) has been dabbling in internet porn. Vulnerable, she receives an enigmatic telephone call summoning her to the surgery of two grotesque plastic surgeons (Kieran McLaughlin, Kelly Crow) who propose a succession of operations that will transform her body, and with it, her soul. This latter offer proves harder to fulfil, so with her body, the girl’s identity is erased, and replaced by a reified image of mass culture.
The devised work of the Diners always teems with ideas, and this multimedia piece is no exception. As it stands, though, there’s a work in progress feel, with a bit of unnecessary dialogue and some slightly overboiled moments. For all that, the four young performers put in a helluva stint, and their pure dynamism overcomes some of the rough edges. Later in the process, this might make for a compelling night out, and as it stands contains some well-realised ideas.