At the close another record breaking year at the biggest arts festival in the world, one which saw over 3000 shows from across the globe vying for attention, it’s fair to say that making a mark while remaining truly independent at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is no mean feat. ZOO Venues ongoing commitment to fostering new talent and bringing bold, innovative, and outstanding work from all quarters to the Fringe is at the heart of what we do, and this year’s programme represents perhaps the most emphatic realisation of this vision to date.
From dance and physical theatre to circus, new writing, and even an a capella experiment, ZOO Venues 2014 season has truly encapsulated the spirit of the Fringe. Audiences and critics alike were enthralled by a programme distinguished not only by its richness and diversity, but above all a capacity to consistently surprise and astound.
Curious Directive’s sci-fi epic Pioneer, a tale of the first human mission to mars, took us across the globe and into the unknown, earning them a Fringe First Award along the way. An intricate, visually spectacular performance on an awe-inspiring scale, this was a unique theatrical experience brought to life by a truly exciting young company. From the intrepidly expansive to shamelessly irreverent, Little Soldier’s The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha squeezed Cervantes’ epic into one gloriously silly hour of slapstick farce. So glorious, in fact, that they received The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence Ensemble accolade.
Lenka Vagnerova and Company demonstrated once again the truly exceptional and utterly unique nature of the work brought to Edinburgh through ZOO’s long running Czech connection, picking up a Herald Angel Award in the process. Visually and sonically arresting, the visceral, virtuosic dance theatre of La Loba and Riders will not be easily forgotten. Equally impressive in their dexterity and skill, but perhaps somewhat more haphazard at first impression, Baccala Clown brought their joyous brand of classic clowning to sell-out audiences with Pss Pss. Shortlisted for the Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Award for Circus, this was a timeless, magical performance and comedic master-class which served as a reminder that sometimes the old jokes are the best.
Our new space, The Van, was christened by Olly Hawes, with his intimate fascinating show You, Me and the World. While elsewhere our theatre programme impressed with Dawn State’s Man Who Would be King selling out many of its performances and Land of The Dragon enchanted the younger members of our audience with tales of mythical wonder.