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
Friday 19 April 2pm
Lincoln Drill Hall pay what you can
01522 873894 www.lincolndrillhall.com