Dreams of Mrs Fraser

Posted

B A Young

Financial Times

Dreams of Mrs Fraser

 

Between Gabriel Josipovici and me there is a great gulf fixed. As I see it, a work written for the stage must have more than words, even if the words create personalities and atmosphere. There must also be action, using the word in the broadest possible sense.

Barry Edwards, directing two short examples in London for Paradise Foundry (an admirable small touring company) has approached the problem in two different ways. Dreams of Mrs Fraser has a narrative foundation, full of incident, about a shipwrecked woman adopted by Australian cannibals, covered with totem tattoos and rescued by an escaped convict who led her for seven months through the rain forest to safety.

The strange facts of Mrs Fraser’s adventures are not presented in sequence but are stirred around, retold sometimes in dialogue, sometimes in soliloquy, sometimes in ballad., sometimes in quotations from Levi-Strauss on the subject of totemism.

Mr Edwards has coloured the script vividly, dividing Mrs Fraser into two actresses (Deborah Paige, restrained and respectable, and Leila Blake, posing naked as a tattooed lady in a circus), while Paul Beech as the convict shifts personalities from scene to scene.