Edinburgh Fringe 2017
Raton Laveur, which translates to “raccoon” in French is a one act psycho comedy/drama/thriller making its debut at Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The Tarantino-esque soundtrack which welcomes you to a blood drenched stage raises your anxiety to a suitable level to observe the at times devastating and rapid decline of a man grappling with his decreasing grip on reality (he believes he is being stalked by the leader of a gaze of raccoons) and his fiancée’s desperation in her failing ability to help him.
Both Ben Noble as the hapless blokey-bloke and Wendy Bos as the successful advertising executive, whose job has brought this couple to Toronto from Australia, are marvelous. This couples relationship has evidently always been a challenge with him feeling downtrodden and threatened by her professional success, with the move to Canada bringing his mental health issues to a chilling crescendo.
Set in the couples rental apartment, we have him leopard crawling in the dark (with a headlamp) through a fort he’s created to trap the raccoon he is so threatened by. He is dressed in her nightgown, bloodied and agitated. The blood soaked rolled up Persian rug indicates something sinister has happened.
His decline is matched with her last-ditch attempts to offer him the emotional support she hopes will make him different this time. The moment she accepts that her attempts are ultimately futile is particularly poignant.
Noble’s portrayal of a desperate man spiraling out of control is mesmerizing, and Bos’ portrayal of a woman having to make a definite choice about her situation is engrossing. The direction is spot on, as is the set and lighting design.
Raton Laveur is a contemporary look into the deeply personal struggles of a modern day, mobile couple struggling to adjust to life in a new world. Issues of loneliness, isolation and the effects these have on the emotions and mental health issues are addressed in equal measure of laugh out loud moments and gasps at the devastation and the mess these two find themselves in.
You will know couples like this in your life, which makes Raton Laveur a somewhat voyeuristic experience.