Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Julien Cottereau - Imagine-toi: more than just bubblegum

My Fringe kicked off on Sunday with Julien Cottereau at the welcome addition to festival venues, the Spiegeltent rip-off run by Assembly (a member of box office staff informed me conspiratorially that they were on strict instructions not to refer to the real Spiegeltent). Cottereau, a mime artist/clown formerly of Cirque du Soleil, has the audience in the palm of his hand for an hour as he creates a host of fantastical characters and situations. From a brilliant extended sequence featuring a piece of imaginary bubblegum, to various animal creations, his only props are a series of audience stooges and his voice, which he uses to concoct all manner of noises. There were times where I didn't understand what was going on, but this is natural - many of the stooges were equally perplexed, and only Cottereau's vocal talents managed to turn rather wooden stomping around into some magical moments. I'll admit that I didn't join the standing ovation at the end, but make no mistake, this is a joyous hour for young and old alike.

Verdict: gentle and uplifting, worth and hour of anyone's time.

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