Late afternoon, a hot August day at the Edinburgh Fringe, you enter the Queen Dome at Pleasance Dome to pulsating music and an almost bare stage, apart from a few chairs and two microphones. What ensues is BOGEYMAN, an abrasive and unapologetic re-enactment of the Haitian Revolution in the 1700s and an interrogative exploration of the consequences of slavery in the present day. The piece runs until the 29th August at Pleasance Dome at 3:55pm.
There is a playfulness at the heart of writer-director Emily Aboud’s creation, a levity that is constantly returned to reinforce the fact that BOGEYMAN is a celebration, not a needless display of trauma. Even at its most intense, the piece breaks tension between audience and ensemble in the blink of an eye, thanks to the intimate relationship that the performers manage to establish within a short period of time. The subject matter is discussed passionately, but also with empathy and care, and beautifully acted out with striking physicality and innovative use of props.
BOGEYMAN’s ensemble are a strong unit in this production, a clear loving bond between all four performers that propels the piece, a trust and understanding between them that they invite the audience to join, and we quickly do. Their humour, curiosity and playfulness shines just as much as their most heart wrenching moments, as they discuss complacency, survivor’s guilt and fear of being haunted by ancestral past.
BOGEYMAN is not only a strong and striking piece of physical theatre with elements of music, dance and storytelling, but a necessary and accessible education into something we should all know more about as a society. A production that forces you to look at what the human race is responsible for and what the world was built from and on, with a tenderness that encourages remembrance and gratitude.