Something akin to starting Glastonbury Festival with the ritual of the Healing Fields’ opening ceremony, my Edinburgh Fringe has been blessed by the cosmic energies of the shamanic rave Faun, an underground festival sensation created by Andy Black.
Ushered into a small dark room at the Merchants Hall, the chairs around the edge of the room don’t get a look in as we are gently positioned into the space by a sparkling Nymph (Sarita Ryan). That is, until we start needing somewhere to shed our extraneous layers, handbags and high heels. We are going to dance. We are going to get sweaty. We are going to feel a drug-free, mystical, sexually explicit, euphoria. We are going to laugh at ourselves, and perhaps shed a tear too as our emotions are manipulated through movement, adventure, music and the lyrical expression of our Faun guide.
The Faun (Black), in a tribal tattooed bodystocking, rainbow eye-shadow, some perfectly placed pieces of fur and high-heeled cloven hooves, masterfully moves us into ‘synchronised effervescence’, tapping into primal urges and the imaginative play that most of us won’t have bothered with since childhood.
For 45 minutes we are immersed in the experience, riding unicorns and giant invisible genitalia, flowing around the room as the Faun joins in amongst us. A stirring electronic soundtrack composed by Richard Gallagher provides the ambience for the Faun’s chants, invocations and – at one point – the most deeply tender lullaby. Directed by Molly Molloy, the choreography is iconic and ritualistic; simple enough for all to follow, or elaborate from according to whim. I wish I knew more about shamanism, because it feels like there is a lot more at work in this show than its light-hearted nature might let on.
I may not have been involved deeply enough to prevent the automatic recoil as the smiling young man next to me over-enthusiastically tried to ‘extend his energy’ into my boob but yes, I did hallucinate penises for a moment.
The room holds around 12 audience members, and even that becomes a sweaty club of grinning fools, so definitely don’t wear your best woolly jumper. Apart from that though, the show allows us each to embrace our own sizes, shapes and energies to find our own way through the projected forest or bestial transformations. This show is about you. Us. A journey. And our poop chakras.
It’s only halfway back across the city that I remember the aching knees and feet that had been plaguing me before the show. Follow The Faun is a rejuvenating experience for body and soul.
Follow The Fawn, by Andy Black. Spotlites at Merchants Hall, 22 Hanover Street, EH2 2EP. £7.50-8.50. 6-31 August. http://www.thefaun.com