Published on www.newyorkcool.com
Devised and created by the company
12th Annual Ice Factory
Soho Ohio Theatre
The Run is over
Reviewed by Christina M. Hinke
New York Cool
The Ice Factory. The name alone sounded like a refreshing place to cool off away from the ninety-degree heat of summer. So, needing a chill, I went to see the first “Ice Play" (in a lineup of six plays) - the stimulating show, Fathom.
Entering the theater, I heard the swish of rushing water and the sound of birds singing above my head. It was so realistic, I was waiting for water to pour down upon me. Adeptly attuned to the acoustics of the space, the sound effects were played live through horns, string instruments, flutes and more. The sounds truly added to the visual treat ahead.
The stage setting of colonial Tasmania was simple yet profound. A ship’s sail was the backdrop, and it was used to show ethereal images in split-screen style. As I watched a scene in the foreground, I saw a simultaneous presentation behind the swatch of fabric – such as a man swimming underwater or a woman searching for her boy. Each muscle and body feature was lit up like firelight lights a face at a campfire, creating an eerie, mesmerizing glow.
Fathom is an inventive play centered on the idea that if you take a creature out of its environment, it will not survive. A seventeen-year-old boy, who is wheezing for air, has a secret. He breathes underwater. A naturalist and shell collector has come to a faraway place to do his work. He befriends the boy and soon discovers his talent.
The story involves Fabian, the sickly boy (Patrick Costello); his mother Sarah (Adrienne Kapstein); her two employers, Dr. Watson (Andrew Shaver), a scientist who studies human skulls to predict a person’s behavior; his wife, Lady Jane Franklin (Kayla Fell), a woman’s activist; and the London naturalist, Alastair (Attila Clemann).
Richard Crawford directed the show’s inventive storyline with precision. Not a minute was wasted in the scripted dialogue, and all the cast and musicians gave compelling performances.
Watch for Fathom to hit other festivals in the future (I can’t "fathom" why it would not travel onward!). Fathom recently won the award for Best Show at the 2004 ESB Dublin Fringe Festival, and the award for Best Text at the 2004 Montreal Critics' Circle Awards.
© Copyright Christina M. Hinke 2005. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.