Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Oktobre

Oktobre, Oktobre, Purcell Room @ Southbank Centre - reviewed on 23rd January

Photo: Daniel Michelon
A woman in a red dress, wearing red lipstick and holding a red balloon, sits beside a table. She is still but for her flickering eyes and the occasional frog-like protrusion of her tongue. A man, in shorts and a formal jacket, cartwheels across the stage and covers the table with a long black tablecloth. An awkward bearded man sits down and pours himself a drink. The lights go down but the sound of liquid being poured continues, as giggles ripple through the audience.

So begins Oktobre, a show combining magic, acrobatics and absurdity. Characters seem on the verge of insanity - shouting at each other (in French) about their frustrations and minutely shuffling chairs and other objects to satisfy their obsessive compulsive tendencies. It's hard to understand the characters onstage but easy to become drawn into their world - a bizarre dinner party in which only crackers are served and guests pretend to kill each other before falling about laughing.

Oktobre's tricks defy logical inclusion into the show's narrative, but amaze nonetheless, from Yann Frisch's clever magic in which balls and cups disappear and reappear at will, to Eva Ordonez-Benedetto's skilfully controlled trapeze. Oktobre baffles and impresses in equal measure but never fails to delight.

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