Alfred Jarry Produced by Cheek by Jowl
@ The Oxford Playhouse – 8 February 2013
Goaded on by the reassurance of that this was a ‘must see’ and desirous to take my first experimental steps in seeking out artistic entertainment in a language which is not my own, I purchased a medium sized plastic cup of French Sauvignon Blanc; found our seats; opened the chocolates and located the subtitles equipment. Yeh! Let the play begin. And it did…
Admittedly, I was a little misplaced for the first ten minutes, (perhaps as I’d just heard that the show was recommended for 16+ and my 12 yr old was looking vacant…then grinned), however past this initial stage of finding my bearings, my enjoyment levels shifted to fifth.
It was kooky, it was wacky, it was very dissimilar to anything I’ve been party to before and I’m so relieved that I was part of the audience.
The actors are skilled, really skilled and the tale telling not your usual. For it’s a mix of hand held video recorder; squeezed tomato ketchup; kitchen blender device; great stage rolling; passion – fiery passion; fine costumes which work well with the interior design; and sensational STOP-and-Go acting.
You feel the performance intensely and the execution of the drama is only enhanced by the surly teenage son; the power-hungry Pere Ubu; and the nice, then not so nice Mere Ubu.
There is humour, however dark. There is shameless desire for power, at any cost. There is ardour for Mummy and total revulsion for Daddy (I think…well that’s how I understood it at least). And there are some great, well-tailored outfits.
The play has unfortunately moved on from Oxford though – however it’s currently playing in Paris until 3 March @ Sceaux, Les Gémeaux/Scène Nationale
Béthune, Comédie de Béthune, France 5 – 8 March
Bordeaux, Théâtre National de Bordeaux en Aquitaine, France 26 – 29 March
Marseille, Théâtre National de Marseille La Criée, France 3 – 6 April
And thankfully returning to the UK:
London, Barbican, UK 10 – 20 April
Please go see it and also, go find out more about this wonderfully innovative theatre company @ http://www.cheekbyjowl.com