Grit is an intimate and thought-provoking puppetry piece by Tortoise in a Nutshell theatre company, exploring war and conflict in Syria. Using a combination of puppets, projections and shadows, it tells the story of a photojournalist capturing the transformation of cities and land as war unfolds. Grit tugs at your sleeve and takes you gently on this journey.
Using cardboard boxes and roughly drawn outlines of tanks and protesters, the cities of Syria are created before being destroyed. These images, combined with the narrative, should provoke some compelling emotion, but don’t quite manage to. It’s not that the company is poor at what it does – Grit‘s use of puppetry in telling this story is imaginative – it’s just that I wish I had felt more during it. For all its imagery, Grit just felt empty, something I couldn’t shake off afterwards.
However, setting aside emotion there is much to admire and be inspired by in this production. Running at just forty minutes and offering visual stimulation in abundance, Grit takes a serious issue and makes it accessible. If we are not learned of war zones, of living conditions and of the vast array of mine-fields that litter the earth beneath certain countries, then Grit educates well.
*** – 3 Stars
Grit is playing at Bedlam Theatre as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 25th August. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.