(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 8/27.)
Not so much a show as a mass hallucination, the latest piece from James Thierrée puts a spell on the audience with its mixture of ravishing visuals, seductive music and breathtaking acrobatics. Thierrée was raised in a circus; Charlie Chaplin was his grandfather and the American playwright Eugene O’Neill was his great-grandfather. All of those influences are apparent in a piece that doesn’t give a damn whether it’s theatre, dance, circus, slapstick or a beguiling mix of all of them.
The Chaplin influence is particularly strong in a series of silent clowning sequences executed by the seemingly rubber-boned Thierrée, who does one-armed combat with a grudgeful violin and wears a coat that sprouts hands from its pockets. He shares a fruitful relationship with Yann Nédélec, who plays mournful, impish stooge to Thierrée’s floppy-haired maestro, who seems constantly both delighted and stunned by his own virtuosity.