It’s always encouraging to see old myths take on a new life when FRINGE WORLD rolls into town, with many shows this season taking their cues from these archaic legends.
But in Icarus, performer and mime Christopher Samuel Carroll takes the Ancient Greek myth of the man who flew too high to new heights, giving this ancient tale an incredibly contemporary, heartbreaking spin.
Now, if you read the word “mime” and flinched, it’s time to put aside those old hang-ups: this isn’t some creepy face-painted clown-like performer trapped in a box of their own imagining.
Instead, this is mime as physical theatre at its finest, brought to life as a gestural spectacle that is equal parts comedic, emotive and despair-driven.
Icarus tells the story of a young man who finds his life torn apart, literally, by the explosive emergence of a civil war.
In an attempt to save himself he flees, taking great risks to find hope and, ultimately, sanctuary. He eventually stows away in the landing gears of a plane.
It’s a story we have heard many times in the news and yes, it doesn’t always end well.
But what Carroll so masterfully portrays here is the human story behind these news bytes: you almost forget the horror that is about to come as Carroll establishes the narrative through a comedic sequence that captures everyday life beautifully.
The dream sequences are also gut-wrenchingly sublime in their portrayal of hopes and fears, how one moment we can aspire to fly higher and the next it all comes crashing down.
Carroll even conveys the oppressive nature of seeking freedom with such ease that, at times, you can literally feel the walls closing in on the main character.
Icarus is so immersive and engaging that the 55 minutes literally fly by, feeling far shorter than it is.
But the emotional impact it instils in the audience is sure to last well after you leave The Blue Room, thoroughly in awe of the momentum with which Carroll delivers Icarus.