Monday, February 20, 2012

Theatre: Raoul

Designed, directed and performed by James Thiérrée
Regal Theatre
Until February 26
 He was lithe, charming, physically articulate, delectably funny and achingly sad-eyed. His wordless imagination knew no limits. He remains the performer nonpareil of our times. He was Charlie Chaplin.
James Thiérrée, whose Raoul is here for PIAF until February 26, is Chaplin’s grandson, and he’s inherited – perhaps it’s fairer to say has – many of pop’s skills and qualities.
Thiérrée has consummate skills as an acrobat, a dancer and an aerialist – his flying, on different apparatus, is joyfully beautiful to behold. He moves in slow motion as well as I’ve ever seen, his mime is rapid, loose-limbed and accurate. The sight gags are marvellously concocted, the out-sized animal puppets (designed and made by Thiérrée’s mother, Victoria) ingenious, the production elements tasteful and spectacularly executed.    
I enjoyed it all, and I greatly admired his skill, but at one hour 40 minutes, Raoul is too long for its frame, maybe half an hour too long. Thiérrée got a spontaneous standing ovation at the end, and I don’t begrudge him the accolade. For all its undoubted qualities, though, Raoul couldn’t quite get me to my feet.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian 

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