The only way I can describe this show when I’m telling every person I meet to go and see it, is that despite the fact that no one says a word; I still ended up with tears in my eyes and my cheeks sore from laughing. Every single time Bea Roberts, the writer and actress playing Emma in this modern re-telling of Flaubert’s novel, Madame Bovary, moves across the stage to deliver another part of the story I find my mind exclaiming ‘that’s just so bloody clever!’ The hour was a majestic one and Roberts has yet again delivered an exceptional piece of theatre.
We follow Emma through a period in her life when things all just seem a little bit stale. Her morning routine is much like anyone’s; out of bed (eventually), make up on (the drudgery) and the drive in to work (radio on the whole way). What makes Emma’s morning so interesting is the unique way that Roberts presents it. Using the overhead projector to demonstrate the entire make up routine and simply show images of her drive in just gives us a taste of the clever way the story develops.
At work we’re taken to ‘Claire’s Monday Meeting’ in its entire comic sans glory and we finally see Emma’s big secret. Unlike the original story of Madame Bovary who had dresses made for her by the finest of hands, here we have ASOS, Net-a-porter and Topshop on an incessant loop both physically on screen and mentally with Emma constantly. The tender nature of her email exchanges with a man she meets online, in comparison to the drudgery of her husband Paul’s simple nature serves to only empathise with Emma’s loneliness. Culminating in a rather wild office party, Roberts uses the projector and coloured cups to signify the cleverest descent into drunkenness I’ve ever seen.
This also moves Emma’s story to a place of intense sadness. My heart felt as restricted as Emma’s and this sense of a larger realisation of how common her feelings probably were seemed to permeate the room. A piece that you have to concentrate on to get all of Roberts’ quick quips, Infinity Pool is the best thing I’ve seen at the Fringe yet. Its perfect blend of technology and live performance make it a truly unique show and one I couldn’t recommend highly enough.
Infinity Pool is playing at Bedlam until August 28.