Review: The Life Sporadic Of Jess Wildgoose

Inventive and ambitious physical theatre that lacks edge

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
33864 large
The Life Sporadic of Jess Wildgoose
Photo by Paul Lofferon
Published 05 Aug 2023

It's 2008 and, as far as Jess Wildgoose is concerned, there’s no better time to make it big on Wall Street. Packing up her meagre belongings and hitching a ride with her father from Kansas to the Big Apple, she’s ready to live out the kind of dreams that her provincial town could never fulfil – think The Wolf of Wall Street meets the opening scene from Beauty and the Beast. Only, it turns out, city life is not the soft landing she expected. Toto, Jess is definitely not in Kansas anymore.

Much like the American Dream itself, The Life Sporadic of Jess Wildgoose weaves a big story from not very much: four performers (and a live musician) and four light-up briefcases tell Jess’ whole story, transforming into cars and skyscrapers and all the trappings of wealth that so intoxicate Jess.

It’s a shame, then, given this heavy reliance on physical theatre, that the movement isn’t a bit slicker, the choreography more imaginative. It's not quite enough to boost a somewhat underwhelming plot, which leans too heavily on storytelling and a wink-wink-nudge-nudge fabular narrative (Jess Wildgoose does, in fact, find a golden goose – it ends much like you might expect) and quickly abandons its intriguing flashes of metatext. There’s a healthy amount of ambition here, The Life Sporadic of Jess Wildgoose – much like its titular character – just needs a more cutthroat edge.