Greenside@Nicholson Square, Edinburgh
August 9, 2018
“What is love?” a voice asks as the beginning of Anchor. “It can burn you… It can consume you.” We all have our own answers too. What is undoubtedly true, as the voice continues, is that love is a “strange, material, abstract force.” In some wise advice it suggests, “Where we go wrong is in trying to tame it.”
The idea that, “Love is like a bird” is the cue for some coo-ing dove like sounds. It’s also the start of a wonderfully accurate probing into the subject as choreographers and performers Elsa Couvreur and Mehdi Duman open the door on their relationship, playfully and with an always light-touch dig into their wants and needs.
The opening sets the tone. With both of them only in black underwear, he drags her, cave-man style, across the floor, through scattered discarded clothing, to the strains of ‘Only You’, before roles are reversed. We’re not told how we got here, but it doesn’t take much imagination.
When they dress, there’s a lot of pushing and pulling. They walk towards each other and dodge unsuccessfully. It’s love. A situation they are in but cannot escape from. However hard they may try, or at least think they try, they are anchored to each other.
There are references to pleasures and frustrations, and cats and dogs. There’s a little bit of audience participation. Personalities shine through. It’s all done with a smile and a sense of fun that you cannot help but to fall for.
There are love songs aplenty. One well done scene sees them swap in and out of different songs, using the words as a sort of discussion. “I will always love you,” sings one, very badly (deliberately) but with so much enthusiasm you believe fully.
Of course, there are frustrations and arguments too, the latter complete with pointy fingers. And they are often arguments about nothing really. “I love you more,” says one. “No, I love you more,” insists the other. Ah, love. Not always easy, you see. You just can’t help but recognise the situations and see yourself in it all.
Do you remember first meetings? The soundtrack includes a lovely recording of what sounds like a first meeting in a café, somewhere, the pair figuratively feeling each other out. It is very theatrical but there’s some quality dance in Anchor too, but again all done with that tongue firmly in that cheek.
It ends with the audience left alone to the strains of a cover of Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t help falling in love’. It is a quite superb idea that allows a moment of reflection. Except that it’s not quite the end, because Couvreur and Duman have a surprise in store. Let’s just say it involves orange dinosaurs. Hilarious.
I smiled from start to finish, and was still doing so an hour later. “I can’t help falling in love with you” go the words of the song. And I defy anyone not to fall in love with Anchor, and the delightful Couvreur and Duman.
Anchor is at Greenside@Nicholson Square to August 11. Visit tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/anchor for details.