Posts Tagged ‘Les Enfants Terribles’

Yet again an afterthought and an impulse pays dividends, though I’m not sure how to describe the experience! I think gothic musical whodunnit might be as close as I can get…..

We’re at the Empire Theatre at a variety show when the theatre owner is killed. We learn that each of the five acts were fired by letter that morning, making them all suspects. Each of their stories is then told in musical scenes – the knife-thrower, the Siamese triplet strippers (!), the mime artist, the magician and the ventriloquist. We eventually learn who’s done it and why.

The faux proscenium setting and the costumes are great (Sam Wyer and Sally Higginson), Oliver Lansley (who also wrote the book and lyrics) is a suitably slimy compere, Trevor Jary a menacing Ray the Blade (fresh from a career as a butcher!) and Anthony Spargo a terrific schizophrenic ventriloquist. Philip Oakland’s French mime man is a hoot and conjoined Alice Anthony, Rachel Dawson and Robine Landi constitute a theatrical coup. Most play other parts and some play instruments to supplement the 5-piece band.

What makes the show is its originality – a cocktail of music and comedy in a gothic frame – and the enthusiasm and energy of the 11- strong cast (I’ve included the ventriloquist’s dummy!) which make it so much fun to watch. It deserves a longer run in a better theatre (Charing Cross Theatre is long, narrow, airless & stuffy and it takes ages to pick up your tickets and even longer to get a drink!).

I look forward to seeing more from this company, Les Enfants Terribles.

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