Review: iCON

A suitcase full of absurdity and reflection

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Sian Clarke
Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear
Published 08 Aug 2023

In these breakneck days, you need to have a certain nerve to make a show about nothing. iCON is a hubbub of audience participation, rhetorical questions, and Sian Clarke’s search for significance. “That really isn’t important to the rest of the show,” she remarks of her high-energy, harcore entrance to the venue. “But it is nice.”

Herein lies the concept behind iCON. We’re all trying to make our way in a world we’re led to believe won’t exist for much longer. We might as well try to have a nice time.

How writer and performance artist Clarke leads us to this nice time is through a show that is both existential crisis and cosy communal performance. The audience is as important a part of the experience as Clarke is, arguably more. The line between viewer and participant is immediately and irrevocably blurred, leaving the audience in an occasionally awkward position: how much of the success of the show is our responsibility? Is now the time to clap? Why is Clarke in a suitcase? What is going on?

At once, nothing and everything is going on. Clarke knows how to tread the line, forcing us to wonder whether we are complicit in how and why the world is the way it is, then she’ll break the tension beautifully by wearing a suitcase and dancing to 'Take on Me'.

At times uncomfortable, at times poignant, iCON is a show that challenges, confuses and will ultimately stick with you.