Incognito Theatre, a company developed out of the Young Pleasance have had a string of successes at The Edinburgh Fringe, with their last production enjoying an extensive tour following it’s Fringe run. Their latest offering, The Burning marks a departure from their usual style and while it makes for an enjoyable piece of theatre it seems lacking in comparison to previous works.
It’s essentially a modern story, intertwined with stories from the past, “your ancestors are calling, let me take you back” as we head back to the 1640’s and 1860’s respectively to hear how our modern day protagonist, Rebecca has been influenced by the accusations levelled at her long dead relatives.
These stories from the past all have a link to witch trials, and the burning of witches. But it becomes very difficult to see how each of the stories link to each other, or to find a real connection between past and present. The production seems to seethe anger and has a very antagonistic approach, but the reason why seems to be lost to blaring music and whispered voices.
Their very physical style seems to have taken a backseat in The Burning, with more of an emphasis put on sound and speech. A laptop and microphone on stage indicated there was some live mixing going on, but it wasn’t really obvious enough for the audience to latch on to.
The ensemble cast work hard with the material, and while you can enjoy each of the stories individually it is a real struggle to put all the pieces together. The Burning has potential certainly, but perhaps like their central character they need to go back to their roots and understand what made their previous productions work so well.