Review: I gave him an Orchid

Flight of the Escales
Summerhall, Summerhall Place, Edinburgh EH9 1PL, Until August 31st 2015
3 Stars (3 / 5)

I Gave Him an Orchid is a very, very strange piece of theatre. It’s found a perfect home in the anatomy theatre at Summerhall; though as the actor warns us at the start, it would be best if we were watching the show after 10pm in Berlin. She has a point.

Using the real life story of a suicide attempt in 1885, Sarah Calver jumps into an energetic exploration of love and everything that goes along with it. Let’s be clear: she is fantastic. Whether it’s clowning, stand-up, recitation, or intimate confessional: she ricochets between varying states at breakneck speed. A masterful manipulator, one minute she has us laughing, the next, cringing.

The piece is edgy, fun, inventive, highly original… and yet, for a play that purports to be about heartbreak, it’s lacking its own heart. Calver tells us she’s never suffered her own heartbreak, which perhaps goes some way to explain why the show only adds up to a sketchy retelling of the misfortune of others. For a late evening show in Berlin it’s possibly perfect, but the subject matter would benefit from deeper exploration.

Founded in 2012, Calver’s company, Flight of the Escales, is still young. Based on this piece, its future is exciting.