THE TABLE Press from Edinburgh Fringe 2007 The Scotsman The Table (Stolik) ***** By Jim Gilchrist August 7, 2007 In a darkened auditorium, four Polish musician-actors, two of them sporting head mics, sit themselves down at the eponymous, spot-lit table. It's a solid enough piece of furniture, although the tell-tale twinkling of lights from effects pedals underneath suggests they didn't get this one from the local branch of Ikea, a suspicion quickly borne out as they proceed to take us on an extraordinary rollercoaster of an acoustic journey. Awesome, manic or witty in turn, it commences like a musical seance, as the four men rap, scrape, stroke or stick blades in the table top - which is wired to a sophisticated sound system so that the slightest tap reverberates eerily. As these random sounds coalesce into rhythmic patterns, the quartet start plucking or bowing fretted strings set into the table edge and chimes and rhythms build up with snatches of folk song and the growl of Mongolian-style overtone singing. That's us heading east - the four sections of the performance take us round the points of the compass, with south a thunderous build-up of tribal drumming and roaring didgeridoo (nozzles protruding from the table top). West is a raucous collage of industrial sounds, mimed typing and howling rock music. The players attack the table with infectious zeal and with clever little tricks such as a spun coin, rumbling through the amps and caught like a little planet in the light of a torch. They close with north and its echoes of Pink Floyd and creaking of ship's timbers. The table, which is lit by a single candle and ringing with wine-glass harmonics, takes us on a voyage into the sublime. The players depart one by one as the reverberations gradually fade, leaving us to silence and to the suspicion that perhaps now we know what happened to the crew of the Mary Celeste... London Times Jacks of all stages: Polish performers will electrify the Fringe in a range of guises By Adrian Turpin August 5, 2007 Gone are the days when any Polish production suggested intense-looking actors, dressed in black, on a black stage, muttering black thoughts. The crop of 2007 shows could hardly be more stylistically or thematically diverse. I’m not even sure how to describe The Table (Aurora Nova). It has two subtitles: “a maple swish and shush” (too fanciful) and “a piece for four men and a table” (too reductive). Despite looking like something you might find at Ikea, the titular piece of furniture is actually a specially built musical instrument. From the opening moment, when the four musicians fling knife blades into the maplewood surface – conjuring a supernatural twang – this surprises. Every tap of the finger and swish of the hand is picked up by 29 tiny microphones beneath the wood, sent to a mixing desk, and fed back to the audience in glorious quadraphonic. Four acts – based on points of the compass – run the gamut of world music: Scandinavian lullabies, soca rhythms, Lou Reed and the theme from Rosemary’s Baby all feature. There’s even Mongolian throat-singing. Somehow, however, the unearthly spawn of these influences sounds wholly original. What makes this more than “just” a concert is the way that the performers, forced by the unique design of their instrument to stare into one another’s eyes, interact. It ensures that – while there may be no plot – a thousand little subplots and mysteries enrich this remarkable feelgood show. The Independent By Kate Bassett August 12, 2007 The Table (Stolik) – created by the Polish group, Karbido – takes us on an electrifying acoustic journey round the globe. This "piece for four men and a table" is really an inspired DIY concert. They look as if they're sitting around at home, drumming their fingers on the kitchen table or brushing off some crumbs, but this is an intricately amplified piece of furniture. Adding in reverberating wine glasses and ululations, and whispering through cracks in the wood, they move musically round the four points of the compass, from the mystical chimes of the East to the pulsating tropical South to the hard-rock West and wonderful icy echoes up at the North Pole. Superb. Three Weeks in Edinburgh Music Review: The Table (Stolik) August, 2007 If there was one thing I prayed I wouldn't have to see at this Festival, it was a group banging random objects to make so-called 'music'. Within five minutes of watching this show, I gladly ate my words. This amazing performance had me mesmerized as they played music from around the world; from traditional Polish songs, to rock; all using a specially designed table sound-sensitive to even the lightest touch. With a tap, they created a deafening beat like an army march, while by flicking a ruler they evoked the music of Australian Aboriginals. The entire show was extraordinary and I gladly recommend it, even to fellow sceptics like me who cannot believe furniture can sound so beautiful. Financial Times (London) Edinburgh Fringe By Ian Shuttleworth August 16 2007 The Table (Stolik) consists of four Polish guys playing a table. Musically, not dramatically. The Karbido company sit around it, beat it, scrape it, cajole it in all kinds of ways and generate fiendish polyrhythms as they do so. Not only is the table miked; it also conceals an arsenal of electronic jiggery-pokery and, it gradually transpires, several sets of guitar strings, a flute and even a didgeridoo all built into the thing. Remarkable soundscapes are built up, playing both original material and extant numbers: I promise you will never hear a version of The Stooges’ “Now I Wanna Be Your Dog” quite like this one. The Guardian Susannah Clapp on the best of this year's Fringe August 12, 2007 The real theatrical story of the Festival isn't a play - it's a place. For the past seven years, it's been worth heading to Edinburgh in August simply to see what's on at Aurora Nova. Programmed by the inspired German-born, Dublin- based Wolfgang Hoffmann, Aurora Nova is international, dancedriven, song-led, visually startling: taken together, its pieces (hardly any are what you'd call plays) add up to a lexicon of alternative theatre. Last year, one weird Aurora triumph was a Norwegian satire - in an invented language - about nasty nuns; this year, one of the star turns is a piece of furniture. In The Table (Aurora Nova, until 27 August), Polish band Karbido turn an average looking bit of maple into an acoustic drama. This lump of wood is the only object on a bare stage, lit for gladiatorial combat, surrounded by four men who summon it into life: they harpoon it with blades, each hit producing a different pitch; they scrape it, beat it with wooden spillikins, fingerdrum it - and in doing so, fight and give in and co-operate with each other.
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