The Overcoat, Edinburgh Festival Fringe review

The Overcoat is Gecko Theatre’s fourth show to appear at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In between the opening and closing notes of a lone figure playing a xylophone, we are delivered an adaptation of Gogol’s short story ‘The Overcoat’. This tells the tale of Akakki, an impoverished draughtsman who can’t even afford his rent never mind the status symbols needed to win his dream girl. We follow the path of Akkaki; the lengths he will go to win his sweetheart and the brittleness of such actions.

The Overcoat, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2009, promo image

Technically The Overcoat is brilliant - the costumes and make-up are immediately praiseworthy, but it’s the inspired lighting effects, innovative direction and imaginative set design which really captures the senses. This is no better demonstrated than the introduction to Akkaki’s work-place, which is stunning - made all the more so by the live music and accompanying choreography. And a wonderful dreamy scene at the end firmly cements the achievements of designers Ti Green and James Farncombe.

Under director Amit Lahav’s control the accompanying story is told through dance, dialogue and song. Sometimes the storytelling is uncomplicated and easy to follow, like The Overcoat hanging high and out of Akkaki’s reach or the mundaneness of office life. Sometimes to follow The Overcoat you need to listen and watch intently, and at other times it becomes completely ambiguous. One thing is for sure: The Overcoat is never short of offering opportunities for your own interpretation.

The Overcoat is an inventive spectacle, which vividly weaves through its 80 minute run time. A good show to watch this August.

The Overcoat is showing at The Pleasance Courtyard’s Grand venue until 29th August 2009 (not 18th, 25th) at 1720.

2 Responses to “The Overcoat, Edinburgh Festival Fringe review”

  1. I really enjoyed this aswell, great show.

  2. Honestly, it was absolute perfection. I packed in a few cracking little turns at the fringe this week and being a poor student thought £11.50 was a budget pusher to say the least- but seriously, worth every penny. I haven’t laughed or cried or just gazed in awe so much at a piece of theatre in a long time… beautiful, funny and at times heart wrenching. I was left speechless… hence why I can’t properly articulate myself to give the show the revue it deserves. Perfect way to end a week for me. Would hate to have missed it and would go see again in a second. My hat goes off to them.

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