10 May

Amour is something quite extraordinary.  The creative team are quite right to place it in the ‘In the Round’   situation. A Normal theatre pros arch would be too confining. This is a show that shouts freedom. The actors ride bikes around a moveable lamp post They move chairs around to create rooms and furniture without a shade of self-consciousness and they sing and dance as if they are real people – oddly difficult for actors – which must have been hell at rehearsals though I’m told they had a great time doing it.  

And yet it is fantasy – an explanation of how a man got stuck in a wall in the 18th arrondissement in Paris in 1950. A simple plot of a pair of lovers – an overworked and underloved clerk and an unhappy imprisoned wife. The unconditional love of real people made victims by the harsh treatment from the unhappy unloved and unloving. 
 I cannot actually speak too highly of this witty, funny wonderful show which is a pure delight from start to finish. No actual dialogue. It is sung and danced through, but it is not opera nor ballet. These are real people dancing and singing as if they cannot help it. It is the reality, the earthiness of the characters that is so Parisienne, crazy and witty.

The wit of the setting by Adrian Gee, of the music by the great Michel Legrand, the translation into English full of hysterically funny rhymes by Jermy Sams,  the original libretto by Didier Van Cauwelaert, adapted from the story ‘Le Passe Muraille by Marcel Ayme, Lighting by Rob Halliday, Sound by Andrew Johnson and the amazingly exciting and eccentric choreography by Mart Cole and what we used to call at the BBC ‘Rough Singing’ directed by Jordon Li-Smith. All added to the perfection of direction by Hannah Chissick.

It is unusual to praise the casting director, but she is also the producer, the very beautiful  Danielle Tarento who has spent many hours of torment casting exactly the correct actor for the job. Outstanding of course are Gary Trushaw who plays the unfortunate and hardworking clerk who becomes the notorious Robin Hood character known as Passe Partout because he could enter any establishment without a key. Anna O’Byrne with her exquisite soprano plays the unhappy imprisoned wife and sings the wistful number ‘Other peoples’ Stories’  The other characters include some prostitutes, gendarmerie, lawyers, clerks, an artist, a newsboy and every single actor has at least one strong solo number.  Claire Machin almost stopped the show in her persona as the whore who is the first benefactor of Dusoleil’s newfound talent.

Due to some computer problems, I am late with my review and have seen that other reviewers have not been sparing in their five stars. I look forward to reading their work. The show is worth every one of those stars.  – wish we could give more.

Jeremy Sams describes the show as. Modest in scope but huge in heart. 

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