Brighton Fringe 2015
Starring a medley of characters, overwhelmed by the love of a show-stopping song and performed using only a scarf this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is an Art Show, made with love by an idiot.
A conversation with god, a dialogue on integration and disintegration, this is an "art show" – or is it an entertainment? Exquisitely detailed, gloriously unhinged, Lucy Hopkins inhabits a clutch of conflicting characters and who is playing who? A clown show of words and movement, the audience erupts at a twitch of her cheek, the tiniest look,and the overblown swirl of the veil.
A solo performance that had most of the audience in hysterics (and a few looking on in wonder) , the veil is used to comic delight to be scene and scene change, prop, costume and gesture. This is a piece that uses wit, pastiche, verbal play and interplay, character comedy and physical clown to build towards a very unpredictable end. Lucy Hopkins becomes different characters and flits between them at the speed of a veil swish. The Bosco space, on the Old Steine, is a noisy place, and Hopkins was miked up, which occasionaly distorted a voice that is a masterclass in delivery and comic timing.
This is a show that, underneath the verbal and physical comedy, asks a few questions about art and show business, creation and created. It’s the feeling of depth to the shenanigans that lets the audience trust they are in the hands of both a sure philosopher and a consumate clown. Ultimately, for me, Le Foulard is an entertainment about art. Her characters are well drawn and the interaction between them, via the medium of a sole performer, is both an impressive spectacle and an engaging narrative.
It is the fact that she is an outstanding performer as well as a creator of characters that we want to laugh and cry at (and with), that mark this out as a special piece of theatre. She is a master of looks, silences, twitches.
I felt the ending lacked clarity in the way it was realised in this particular space. I can’t say more without offering a spoiler. However, there were a few looks of confusion from some audience members. That said, it was all part of being played with as an audience. Perhaps, in the end, we are also a vital character in this piece – a piece that ranges the emotions – from the tears of the clown to the laughter of fall down comedy. Lucy Hopkins has it all here in a highly recommended show.