Camden People’s Theatre
Reviewed – 25th July 2018
“Fox delivers a masterclass in physical performing”
An image recognised across the world, ouroboros is an age-old symbol depicting a dragon, or snake, eating its own tail. In her riotous one-woman show, Charlotte Fox contemporises the image: how far are we willing to go to maintain our image? Ouroboros is a witty and piercing critique of how we are made to view our bodies and the pains we endure in order to ‘look good’ for the damning and judgmental eyes of this materialistic world.
A struggling actor, Charlotte (as depicted in the show) is propelled by her agent onto a quest to get thin. Her journey incorporates the archetypical American self-help guru through to the verbally abusive fitness instructor-cum-DJ seen in gyms and park across the city pushing fitness freaks to their limits. Seeing this show just minutes after an aimless wander through a nearby Planet Organic exposes how manipulative and confusing current ‘health foods’ on offer can be. What should we eat to live healthy lives? And who’s methods, who’s diet, who’s message can we trust?
With just herself and a few props, Fox delivers a masterclass in physical performing. Easily contorting her body to become an array of crooked and crazy characters, she remains focused and totally committed to character and place throughout. The results are hilarious. She builds a strong relationship and rapport with the audience, asking us to take part and shape the show with her. Fox is a confident performer, and as this show moves to Edinburgh, ‘Ouroboros’ will undoubtedly be a hit.
If there’s a downside, it’s that the show stretches just a little too long and has a few repetitive moments, but even these work towards the shows central themes. Fad food diets, fitness regimes and social media are all traps, serpents eating their own tails. Approach with caution (or, at least, cynicism). Fox manages to satirise the trends of urban life without seeming exclusive or part of a ‘London elite’, which is increasingly rare with shows of this kind, and makes Ouroboros of even greater appeal. If you’re in Edinburgh this summer, please don’t miss this captivating and astonishing show.
Reviewed by Joseph Prestwich
Photography by Marc Abe
Camden People’s Theatre
Ouroboros is at Cowgate, Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 2nd to 14th August