(Matt Trueman’s article appeared in the Guardian, 7/25.)

I've never known a festival so full of connecting threads. Every show programmed by curators Hortense Archambault and Victor Baudriller adds to the spiderweb in your head: economic crises stare down revolutionary ideals; globalisation locks horns with environmental concerns and various forms of inequality. A 360-degree commentary on today's world emerges over three weeks and 45 shows.

Well, 44, really: Arthur Nauzyciel's version of Chekhov's La Mouette (The Seagull) stands alone in its sheer awfulness. One could, I suppose, draw parallels between Chekhov's would-be playwright Treplyov, who defies popular tastes to seek truth through his art, and this production. But Nauzyciel is more concerned with tipping the play's unrequited loves into full-blown melodrama. Gallais wears a hunchbacked coat to suggest Treplyov's self-disgust at his inability to win Nina's love. With sighing and
soliloquising, Nauzyciel stretches its 60 pages to four excruciating hours of over-acting and extreme enunciation. I swear one actor managed to squeeze four syllables out of the word "nuit".


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