To much delight, Manual Cinema returns to this year’s annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival with their magical new show LULA DEL RAY.

MANUAL CINEMA is a Chicago-based performance collective, design studio, and film/ video production company founded in 2010 by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller, and Kyle Vegter. Never short of vivid imagination, Manual Cinema combines an enticing hotchpotch of handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music. In addition, the collective also uses vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets, actors, live feed cameras plus multi-channel sound design to invite the viewers on a cinematic journey with a difference!

LULA DEL RAY is a coming-of-age story so to speak, set in the American Southwest of the 1950’s – to be precise, it is set on the outskirts of a vast satellite array in the middle of the desert. It is there that Lula, a somewhat lonely girl going through the usual pains of adolescence, lives with her mother. Her only friend seems to be a boy from a nearby trailer – other than that she constantly escapes into a world of dreams, rockets, travelling to the moon, satellites and gazing at the stars. Soon though she encounters a new ‘love’ when she listens to the radio and hears a country music duo called The Baden Brothers (think Hank Williams and Roy Orbison) and bam, henceforth she can’t get enough of the Badens! After an argument with her mother she runs off and boards the next Greyhound bus which is meant to bring her closer to her idols. Along rocky canyon roads and seemingly endless miles the bus finally rolls into the big city though it isn’t quite clear whether that city is LA or somewhere else in the Southwest. It might even be New York for all we know. Important thing is that this is the very city in which the Baden Brothers perform a sell-out concert and poor Lula is unfortunate enough to turn up at the box office just as the last ticket is sold in front of her eyes! Life can be so cruel! Not one for giving up she concocts other plans to get close to her idols while at the same time, the pitfalls, deceptions and dangers of the big city see her condemned to washing the dishes when she can’t cough up the bill in a local diner…
To give any more of the plot away would be spoiling the broth but rest assured this wonderfully heart-warming yet unusual tale – pretty much told without any dialogue - is worth it, if only to marvel at the skilful trickery of the Manual Cinema ensemble!

LULA DEL RAY runs until August 28th at the Edinburgh’s Underbelly Med Quad and tickets can be obtained either directly at the Underbelly box office (Phone- 0131-510 0395) or via www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk

(Photo courtesy of Jerry Shulman)

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