‘A gorgeous, good-natured hour-long confection’: HOTEL PARADISO – Touring

In Circus, Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

Touring – reviewed at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Staggering back from holiday, I sentimentally booked this at the New Wolsey in Ipswich because 2019 is the 50th anniversary of my unremarkable student performance in the Oxford Playhouse in the Feydeau farce of that name. I was Unnamed Little Girl 2. I thought it might be nostalgic.

As jet-lag abated I realised that it is nothing to do with Feydeau, but a gorgeous, good-natured hour-long confection of acrobatics, aerialism and balance-work by Lost In Translation Circus. Probably better entertainment than ours for OUDS 1969, frankly…

It is loosely worked around a threat to the hotel’s ownership, with a demanding couple with a briefcase (some fine briefcase-and-bucket juggling), causing anxiety to Serge the Concierge, Madame the owner, the bellboy and the very sprightly maid. After some larks with the settling audience, the six embrace the challenges by standing on one another’s shoulders, using fellow cast-members as human skipping ropes, juggling bottles and making teetering towers out of chairs (“I realise this is not the way property law works, but go with it” says Serge, in one of the few actual lines).

The pace hots up; the maid is dutifully dusting the chandelier and finds herself stranded up there, so passes the time with some gasp-creating swinging on various limbs and ankle joints, and when her love affair with the bellhop seems fraught, the obvious answer is for both to do numerous handstands and the splits.

A bankruptcy notice is met by Madame with first a wild swinging routine nearly knocking out the lighting rig of the Wolsey, then one of the best comedy hula-hoop acts I have seen, as she attempts to get at a bottle and glass and pour out her drink, which involves moving the hoops up and down from ankle to upheld wrist; for the finale they all suddenly display, as the backstage curtain falls on the supposed swimming-pool, that they can also actually bounce, to great heights.

In this fraught time of Brexit negotiation, this all seemed perfectly reasonable to me. Here’s to indicative handstands, meaningful cartwheels and benign defiance of common prudence. It’s touring, see below, then going to Edinburgh.

Performing tomorrow Friday 12

Bristol  7:30pm    Circomedia St Paul’s Church

0117 947 7288 www.circomedia.com

Then   Lincoln
Friday 19 April 2pm

Lincoln Drill Hall pay what you can

01522 873894 www.lincolndrillhall.com

Libby Purves on RssLibby Purves on Twitter
Libby Purves
Libby Purves was theatre critic for The Times from 2010 to 2013. Determined to continue her theatre commentary after losing that job, she set up her own site www.theatrecat.com in October 2013. She personally reviews all major London openings, usually with on-the-night publication, and also gives voice to a new generation of critics with occasional guest 'theatrekittens'. In addition to her theatre writing and myriad other credits, Libby has been a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Midweek for over 30 years. She is also the author of a dozen novels, and numerous non-fiction titles. In 1999, Libby was appointed an OBE for services to journalism.
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Libby Purves on RssLibby Purves on Twitter
Libby Purves
Libby Purves was theatre critic for The Times from 2010 to 2013. Determined to continue her theatre commentary after losing that job, she set up her own site www.theatrecat.com in October 2013. She personally reviews all major London openings, usually with on-the-night publication, and also gives voice to a new generation of critics with occasional guest 'theatrekittens'. In addition to her theatre writing and myriad other credits, Libby has been a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Midweek for over 30 years. She is also the author of a dozen novels, and numerous non-fiction titles. In 1999, Libby was appointed an OBE for services to journalism.

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