Brighton Fringe 2018
A bizarre, entertaining and frequently hilarious look into the mind of the artist, the wannabe and the artistically confused.
Lucy Hopkins’ Le Foulard grabs you where you least expect it, and propels you on a journey of diverse opinions, stories and speculations.
Assisted only by a giant pashmina and her face, she transforms into the multiple personalities vying for prominence in and out of this world, or your mind.
From a basic monologue, or perhaps in this case it should be multiple dialogues (all delivered by Lucy), she uses an impressive level of mime skill to slip from one character to another.
Like the very best comedic mime of Harpo Marx, Jacques Tati, and even Rowan Atkinson, Lucy shows a naive otherworldly wonder at her cerebral wanderings, especially when encountering higher powers.
But the silence of Marceau is not the format of this piece, rather a complex and impressively multi-accented, multilingual fluency is at the heart of the show. The influences here are also wide, but I caught whiffs of Joyce Grenfell, Madeline Kahn and Mr Atkinson again, in the relish with which vowels and consonants were tasted, savoured and kissed out as benign grenades of joy.
While there is undoubtedly an extremely well-rehearsed script, it is more a framework than a rule book, and any environmental prompt from loud conversations, telephones or motorcycles, offers the opportunity for a diversion onto other realms of the mundane and ridiculous.
Most comedians improvise from time to time, but the timing, sureness, skill and projection exhibited by Lucy Hopkins is, in the opinion of this reviewer, pretty much second to none.
This may make the show sound too slick and sophisticated, and sophisticated it is, but the madcap overtones save it from becoming too polished or pretentious. Indeed pretension and the obsession with artistic polish are two of the themes the show seeks to deride.
There is no set, but minimal (although effective) lighting, simple costume and melodramatic makeup enhance the performance. In fact, both costume and makeup are key elements to the show, and are used in what I can only describe as the best traditions of Fringe.
This strange and extraordinary little show is quite unlike anything I have seen before, and that left me crying with laughter. I wasn’t the only one.
An idiot’s guide to Art (yes, with a capital) it may be, but this idiot is far more savant than any of Brian Sewell’s anal examinations.
If your taste runs to a wry, strange and curious look into the mind of the artist, this is one for you.