Pleasance Courtyard – Above
The story of The Rise and Fall of Jess Wildgoose follows Voloz Collective’s 2022 Fringe hit The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much – which is also part of this year’s Pleasance programming. The two shows aren’t interlinked in terms of plot, but those who previously enjoyed the incredible adventures of Roger Clement will be delighted to see him making a cameo appearance on this occasion as well.
Jess Wildgoose is a freshly-graduated investment banker full of ambition. It’s the mid-noughties when she leaves her native Kansas to pursue a breakthrough in Wall Street, but reality is harsh and nobody is interested in hiring the young woman. The closest she can get to the financial district is by taking a job in a café. Desperation gets hold of her in quite extreme ways, until a motivational book found by chance spurs her into action. Fast forward to a hard-nosed career, where we see her (literally) stepping onto her colleagues to reach her targets. But her route to ruthlessness doesn’t bode well.
Voloz Collective (Paul Lofferon, Emily Wheatman, Sam Rayner and Olivia Zerphy) mould this fast-moving cautionary tale with their unique style of physical theatre and storytelling, completed with live music by Frederick Waxman. Four black briefcases and a very few props are used to shape the narrative, with visually stunning effects on an otherwise empty stage. Their bodies arch and stretch to become silhouettes of familiar objects. A car, a revolving door, and even flying birds appear in vignettes that are finished off by ingenious live sound effects. The hustle and bustle of Manhattan, with its twinkling skyscrapers piercing through the night sky, is mesmerising. With such talented and visionary crew, suspending disbelief is easily done.
The Life Sporadic of Jess Wildgoose isn’t necessarily an inspirational tale of determination, but rather a thriller that looks in a playful way at the 2008 global financial collapse. Amongst much laughter, it leaves on the table plenty of food for thought about what we are prepared to do in order to succeed.
Written, Directed and Produced by: Voloz Collective
The Life Sporadic of Jess Wildgoose plays at EdFringe 2023 until 28 August, 2:25pm at Pleasance Courtyard. Further information and bookings here.