Review – Enough Already/Lachez Tout

November 13, 2013 | By | Reply More

✭✭✭✭✩   Surreal and masterful

Magdalena Steinlein as a blind singer. Photo © Francois Sarhan

Magdalena Steinlein as a blind singer. Photo © Francois Sarhan

Summerhall
Tue 12 – Wed 13 November 2013
Review by Thom Dibdin

Bizarre to the point of obscurity, French composer-artist Francois Sarhan’s collaboration with Red Note Ensemble slides from the quaint to the surreal – and returns all the stronger for the journey.

This is the kind of production in which nothing is as it seems, whether it is in the opening scenes with the fanatical young Bobok (Claudio Stellato) stumbling around the stage, or the silent movie into which he disappears and which takes up most of the show.

Bobok is drawn to the pages of an encyclopaedia written by one Professor Glaçon, an encyclopaedia dedicated to invented reality. And when Bobok’s flat, created on stage, revolts against the book, he sets off to bring that reality into existence. And as a fanatic, that will be by any means possible.

If the whole piece of inspired mania is, from then on, seen through Sarhan’s black and white movie, it is told live on stage through the endeavours of five members of the Red Note Ensemble who provide music and words, with a pair of foley artists providing the sound.

Red Note’s music adds a sparse atmosphere and sense of suspense. But their critical input is to voice the dialogue (such as it is) and provide the narrative background. Notably, the various ideas expounded in the encyclopaedia.

There’s the feel of Frank Zappa’s monologues to these, although sadly not the singsong delivery, as they explore the edges of mania. Here are dream trees which take over at night to ensure that whole regions share a dream – which grows and matures over decades.

Or they tell of a time when Bankers were not well paid, but had to take after-hours jobs to earn any money. Normally in opera houses where, after the performance, they would be locked in so that the common people could lob sharp objects at them.

A personal assault on a Kafkaesque bank

Bobok almost becomes lost in his movie. Dogs irritate him to the point of violence while he becomes infatuated by a blind woman singing on the street. But he eventually manages to remember his objective – involving a personal assault on a Kafkaesque bank, the detonation of a home-made bomb and poisoning the water supply.

In all these adventures – often illustrated with stop-motion cutup collage animation – Bobok’s movement and adventures are created in sound by the fantastic and intricate endeavours of foley artists Julien Baissat and Céline Bernard.

Theirs is an interjection that is often so subtle that you wonder what it is that they are providing. But it is crucial to events as they unfold and it is fascinating to watch in its own right – particularly when they bring off-screen violence to life or provide such mundane effects as a stuck record.

This is a mind-boggling production which has an attention to detail – and depth of detail – which is rarely attempted. Let alone brought off.

Running time 1 hr 45 mins.
Run ends Wednesday 13 November 2013. Tours to Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield (17th)
Evenings 7.45pm.
Summerhall, 1 Summerhall EH9 1PL

Links:

Red Note Ensemble: rednoteensemble.wordpress.com
François Sarhan website http://www.fsarhan.com
“Reality is unbearable, besides it doesn’t exist”: the Henry-Jacques Glaçon Wiki: www.wikiglacon.org

ENDS

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