devised by Ben Harrison and the cast
Performed in August 1998 at the Underbelly, beneath the Central Library, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.
Grid Iron named this venue The Underbelly specifically for this production. It was then adopted by Underbelly Productions who turned it into one of the most successful multi-space venues of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Scotsman Fringe First for Outstanding New Writing
Stage Award for Acting Excellence – Best Ensemble
Four friends escape the fetters of time and a tyrannous counting house to partake of a fabulous meal. Inspired by the food, they tell stories – stories powerful enough to transform themselves and even the spaces through which the audience moves. Plunging deeper into the very guts of the building, they share their increasingly fantastical tales. Until…?
Live music, stunning design and an incredible building combine in this extraordinary promenade show which truly is a laboratory of the senses.
What The Press Said:
"From its take-you-by-surprise opening to its wistful finale - which comes like a sigh deep within the bowels underneath the Central Library - Gargantua proves that the Scottish company Grid Iron is no one hit wonder... It is slightly mad and entirely engaging... a tingling combination of physical theatre, storytelling, music and ravishing images. The tongue-in-cheek opening suggests you may be taken for a ride, but it is a journey that is well worth making - a place to glimpse heavens as well as hell."★★★★★ The Guardian
"one of the most beguiling, atmospheric and touching performances I have ever seen in Edinburgh. This production, by the outstanding Grid Iron,is all staged in the damp and musty storage rooms of a long-abandoned bank... The place is spooky, sepulchral, sinister and smelly, yet paradoxically the show itself is a glorious celebration of life and human appetite... It is sheer originality such as this which makes the sometimes wearying trudge round the Fringe rewarding."The Daily Telegraph
"The site-specific spectacular devised by this most recklessly ambitious of companies moves through a series of underground rooms, moving deeper and deeper into both the physical and metaphorical pit of Gargantua's belly. In each one we're offered the sights, sounds and smells of that match made in Heaven, food and sex, not to mention the rumblings of some less pleasant bodily functions... a pleasure palace that's just as brimful with fibre as well as fruit. Go and have a plateful of this delightful brew."Scotland on Sunday
"four excellent performers and a violinist take us from a Gogol-like aperitif to an erotic starter, a flatulent main course, and a dessert made up from their own true-life tales. It's a sign of the company's boldness... and a sign of resourcefulness that it can show so much style, imagination, and world-class theatricality on the smallest of budgets. As with your favourite restaurant, you'll want to pay a second visit the moment it's over."The Herald
"Food has never been this much fun. Grid Iron have done it again, creating a flawlessly innovative piece of theatre that simply takes your breath away. Based round the weekend pursuits of a group of bored bank workers, indulging in their freedom and a full range of sensual pleasures, the audience is moved from one location to another, each one more stunning than before. The ingenuity in the design is matched by wit and energy in the performance where a sense of the fantastical mingles with sensitive everyday observations. A totally involving experience, this is a definite Fringe highlight."★★★★★ Three Weeks
"a lip-smackingly, gob-smackingly original feast of delights... Director Ben Harrison and his cast led us through a series of dank chambers washed with music and light, for a series of vignettes celebrating consumption as a riposte to Calvinist piety, Victorian denial and the nine-to-five work ethic. Riskily, but entirely successfully, Harrison blended food-related anecdotes from the cast with Rabelaisian passages, and even worked in a riveting recipe for blood sausage."Evening Standard
Cast & Crew:
Ailie Cohen (Musician)
All members of the cast played multiple roles.
Director: Ben Harrison
Producer: Judith Doherty
Assistant Director: Linford Cazenove
Stage Manager: Amy Shapcott
Assistant Stage Manager: Dan Sansome
Stage Management/Production Assistants: Dave Crewe, Deborah Crewe, Niambh Troy, Barry Esson, Jenny Williams
Costume Design: Louise Noble
Costume Supervisor: Alice Bee
Costume Assistants: Lee Dickson, Wendy Housam, Fiona McKay
Lighting Design: George Tarbuck
Lighting Assistants: Phil Haldane & Peter Donald
Technical Advice: Paul McCabe
Set Design: Francis Gallop
Design Team: Nicki Bruce, Sarah Cowlishaw, Mickey Graham, Jonty Grey, Jill Leckie, Catherine Lindow, Fiona Palmer, Marisa Sate
Perspex & Light Sculptor: Susan Bryson
Composer/Sound Designer: Dino Martino
Sound Technical Assistant: Andy Quinn, Jenny Blake
Moving Image Designer: Gary Hall
Moving Image (Mouth/Eye): David Vian Curtis
Print Design: Quintessential
Print Photography: Ray Smith
Print by: The Events Armoury
Production/ Press Photography: Keith Brame
Also supported by Dino Martino Production Services, Stockline Plastics of Glasgow, Allen & Heath Pro Audio Sound Equipment, Epsilon Acoustics, Giuliano’s Restaurant and Richlay Eggs.
The shows are listed in chronological order with the most recent first.