theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 04 Aug 2014

When brother and sister Ourelia and Vodek Cazaniescu fled Romania, all they were able to bring with them was a few precious items from their beloved grandfather's cabinet of curiosities. Step into the Antiquithon and they'll show you their treasures: the spiderabbit – supposedly engineered by the Soviet government to produce a material to rival Nylon, but really, Ouralia admits, one of her grandfather's more fanciful experiments in taxidermy; Marcel, a dancing skeleton in a top hat; the hairy hand and skull of a yeti from Tibet. 

Most curious by far, however, are the siblings themselves, who snipe and glare at each other as they strive to create an air of mystery around what is quite clearly a huge pile of junk. Aurélie de Cazanove and Gwen Aduh are likeable performers, she providing plenty of Borat-esque mispronounciations and examples of political incorrectness—Nicolae Ceausescu may have killed all those children but he was really a sweetie, we're told—and Aduh specialising in carefully observed moments of phyical comedy. But with no plot to fall back on, and Vodek an entirely silent partner in this affair, there's only so long the relationship can maintain our interest.

De Cazanove and Aduh attempt to ramp up the drama towards the end, but the device falls flat and the carefully fostered ambiguity in the siblings' relationship is lost in an instant. The surprise ending lightens the mood, but feels like a lazy way to draw this thankfully brief theatrical experience to a close.