There are hundreds of shows up here at the Fringe – it can take quite a lot of digging to find some gems that will be the highlight of your visit. I’ve been doing a fair bit of digging during my time up here, and I’ve come across some gold. I’ve just found some more to add to the pile, in the form of Temper Theatre‘s Terra Incognita at ZOO Southside.

Terra Incognita, Latin for ‘unknown land’, explores the idea of the world ending, thanks to the devastating climate change. We meet a mysterious cloaked woman, who seems to have some sort of connection with nature, and a suited man living a life in a bustling, chaotic professional world. The cloaked woman guides him on a journey through mysterious lands, which lie beyond the brink of everything we know.

Temper claim to make visceral, cinematic physical theatre that engages audiences and rigorously interrogates a subject matter. Terra Incognita is no exception to this. It’s a production that’s firmly bound together by the many facets of theatrical storytelling, especially those associated with physical theatre. There’s lots of fast, fluid movement, executed in fragments by the ensemble of young performers, who are all aged between 18 and 22, and led by 22-year-old company founder Finn Morrell, to great effect. Their conviction and precision is a joy to watch, and creates a quiet yet authoritative atmosphere that draws the audience in, and invites them to discover the connections between each fragment.

But Terra Incognita‘s most striking aspect has to be its gorgeous visual aesthetic. The fast changes and focused angles, washed with colours from an emotive palette, has a lovely cinematic feel to it. This allows the company to quickly shift between atmospheres while also transporting the audience to a wide variety of locations. These quick shifts come together with the rest of the piece’s storytelling devices to formulate a stylish structure that doesn’t let go of its audience.

There are, however, a few times when things become slightly overwhelming, and we lose sense of where we are and what atmosphere we’re being presented with. Atmosphere is crucial in a piece like this, and there could be more attention to detail from the performers in this respect. They do work well together to assist in the creation of the atmospheres and moods of each scene, but pushing themselves further in this regard would really enhance the piece. This would also assist in the overall storytelling within the piece, allowing us to empathise with characters and connect with them on their journey.

But that’s only a small criticism. Terra Incognita is a powerful, highly enjoyable piece of theatre. It’s a visually striking, beautifully executed piece of theatre that leaves you thinking about it long after you leave the venue.

Terra Incognita is at ZOO Southside until August 29.

Image by Grace Gjersten