Marie is a one hour dance show brought to the Edinburgh Fringe by the Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theatre.
Telling the story of Marie Antoinette, it does so through a series of vignettes, illustrating key moments from Marie’s life.
We begin with a declaration that no one will ever know the full facts of anyone’s life and the use of this narrative voiceover continues throughout the piece.
The music has gone ‘full Bridgerton’ in that there are many recognizable pop tunes which have been made into classical music tracks to accompany the movement. Indeed, some of the tracks are taken directly from the Bridgerton soundtrack.
Mostly using Ballet, but often with Contemporary styling, the scenes take us from Marie’s life as a child to her marriage, motherhood, and eventual condemnation to the guillotine.
Sustaining dance performance is hard, especially when so much of the narrative focuses on one character. The clever decision has been made for each scene to be danced by a different Marie, with eight artists in total taking on the role.
Each scene’s Marie is joined on stage by the sole male dancer, who portrays her husband, and a corps de ballet consisting of apprentice members of the company, and some much younger children.
The performances are strong and solid, and the music choices mostly appropriate. More variation in choreography would have offered more opportunity for different skill sets to be displayed, but there is a solid grounding of technique here.
The technical elements, often minimal in dance shows, are fully developed here, with clever use of props and lighting. The interwoven voiceover does seem distorted at times, but this may have been first performance issues.
The costumes are also a great achievement – hours of work have plainly gone into creating some of the costumes for the various Marie dancers. A billowing skirt provides a beautiful moment where we perhaps see a glimpse into Marie’s inner turmoil.
It’s a puzzling decision that Marie is condemned to a set of stocks – a guillotine could have been created through lighting effects, and would have been more effective, and projected the air of terror that this form of punishment would surely have generated.
The company are to be commended for being bold and bringing this story to the Fringe. It is to be hoped that the show can be developed more. Some of the people who must have surrounded Marie could be given scenes to show their own motivations and thoughts.
This is a solid performance, although ultimately we don’t learn anything new about Marie Antoinette. The individual performances are well presented, and the company as a whole are highly in sync with each other. A lovely way to pass an hour at the Fringe.
Marie continues at the Edinburgh Fringe until 19th August
Featured Image Credit: Edinburgh Fringe Society