ZOO Southside – Main House
Returning to the Zoo Southside stage after last year’s success with Walk-Man, Danish troupe Don Gnu once again present their signature quirky take on mundane scenarios. This time, tourists are placed under the spotlight – the herds of sock-and-sandal-wearers, tropical-shirt-donners, life-size-backpack-carriers, whose natural habitat seems to be the airport terminal.
The action begins before we even reach our seat, as we are guided into the auditorium via the stage through a lane marked by belt barriers. Some of us get stopped at a makeshift security for further checks. The interactions are engaging and help to lift the mood on a misty Edinburgh afternoon.
Spoiled by last year’s high-octane mishmash of musical genres and dance styles, daring acrobatics and a relentless use of props, we are met instead this summer with a laid-back vibe. This is perhaps intended to match the more relaxed mindset of the holidaymaker, but that theory is disproved later on. In fact, during what could be considered the show’s climax, the three characters engage in a lengthy fight, with an array of imaginary weapons that are shown, for the benefit of the public, on a large screen at the back of the stage. It feels disjointed from the rest, hardly relevant, and almost as if it has been introduced as a filler.
The skill of the performers shines brightly at every opportunity but, unfortunately, they aren’t given many. The playlist – ranging from Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’ to AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ – is cherry-picked for comic effect, teasing us with a proper crescendo that never arrives.
Don Gnu’s sassy trademark attitude is there – watch out for what happens with a camping tent. It is a company known for their keen eye for detail and fearless genre-bending routines: Walk-Man also included Bollywood dance. On this occasion, however, there should be more to it than what is taken onto the stage. The transition to post-holiday melancholia hits us too soon and certainly before we have had enough fun.
Choreographed and Produced by: Don Gnu
Tourist plays at EdFringe 2023 until 12 August, 2:40pm at Zoo Southside, Main House. Further information and bookings here.