Click here!


Festival Review: The Hidden

Michael Cox looks at the Edinburgh International Book Festival production with Visible Fictions.

Writing a review of Visible Fictions' The Hidden is akin to reviewing a cryptic crossword: it’s fine talking about the nuts and bolts but wrong to divulge any of its secrets.

The publicity states that you go on a mission through Edinburgh’s Central Library looking for clues concerning the disappearance of a woman. I can confirm that this is the case. I can also confirm that the running time is roughly 90 minutes and that audiences will not be working alone—they will be split into multiple teams, and each team will be given separate tasks to complete under timed conditions. I’m also happy to give advice: take notes, keep things organised and above all else make sure to work together as a team.

To say anything else specifically would be wrong.

I can report thoughts on my own encounter, and to that, I must confess it was a mixed bag. The spirit of the production is great: honouring libraries as a place of knowledge and research and encouraging outside-the-box thinking without relying on the internet are terrific things. The thrill of a new discovery was also a wonderful thing to experience.

However, my own experience was soured. Was this down to the fact that my group didn’t work together? Included in my group were a married couple who seemed a bit aloof and a family who were determined to do everything themselves. A shame. Did we find all the clues and interpret things correctly? I’m pretty sure we didn’t. The ending I experienced was a disappointing fizzle. Was this punishment for not ‘solving’ the production’s mysteries to the theatre makers’ satisfaction? If so, that’s cruel; if not, then it’s an unsatisfying let down.

Should the mystery be simplified or clarified? Is there a way of helping teams work together. Might the role of our guide be allowed to help or offer more concrete guidance? Is there in fact a better ending that explains what the hell it was all about or is ambiguity the goal? These are mysteries I will probably never have the answer to.

The Hidden is part of this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival and is at Edinburgh Central Library.

Comments: 0 (Add)

To post a comment, you need to sign in or register. Forgotten password? Click here.

Find a show

Search the site

Find us on …

Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on YouTube

Click here!