I have not read Michael Faber’s The Fahrenheit Twins but seeing Told by an Idiot’s stage version of it in the Pit at the Barbican has made me want to.
I have not read Michael Faber’s The Fahrenheit Twins but seeing Told by an Idiot’s stage version of it in the Pit at the Barbican has made me want to. Paul Hunter and Hayley Carmichael’s two-hander is a frenetic, touching and disturbing Hansel and Gretel fairytale set in the relentlessly white world of the Arctic circle.
Hunter and Carmichael play twins Marko’cain and Tainto’lilith, their parents, their huskies and even the foxes that live near the snowbound scientific base that is both their birthplace and the only home they have ever known. At first the twins’ life is an idyllic snowbound romp through a world that belongs only to them. The only hint of the darkness to come is a disturbing ritual they devise in the hope of never growing up.
The tone abruptly changes when the twins’ mother is laid low with food poisoning and their world changes forever. The pair set out on a journey of discovery only to find more than they bargained for, before eventually returning to a home that is no longer their own.
Hunter and Carmichael have been collaborating for twenty years and a full range of performance techniques is on show from both in this intriguing piece. It is impossible to pin down exactly what the play is about but this is perhaps the point: the blend of storytelling styles makes it an intriguing theatrical tapestry.
Naomi Wilkinson’s fluffy white set resembles a gigantic revolving stiletto with endless concealed pouches and trapdoors and, versatile though it is, the business of getting it into position palls after 90 straight minutes. Some of the musical interludes are on the long side as well but the whole experience is well worth it. Pop into a bookshop on your way home and pick up a copy of Faber’s book.
The Fahrenheit Twins runs until 5 Dec.