(Chris Wiegand’s article appeared in the Guardian, 7/12.)
James Thierrée’s new show, The Toad Knew, opens and closes in characteristically topsy-turvy fashion. At the start, the heavy red curtain hanging before us is pulled not up but entirely down, the cloth yanked across the stage like a great wave. It’s impressively hitched back in place at the end, leaving Thierrée and his company peeking their heads out mischievously from under the velvet drapes. Thierrée beams behind his fringe of silvery curls at the applause on this latest stop of their European tour.
But the following morning, when we meet at his hotel in Montpellier, it’s a different story. Thierrée pads down to reception in his bare feet, wearing a T-shirt and shorts, and has a sombre, lopsided look about him. He says with a wince that he’s hurt his back and needs to find a doctor before that night’s performance. He’s full of apologies but the show must come first and we agree to speak on the phone later.