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REVIEW: Risible from the first line to the last

REVIEW: Risible from the first line to the last

Thursday 10 August 2023

REVIEW: Risible from the first line to the last

Thursday 10 August 2023

GADOC’s first fringe show will leave you feeling French, fuzzy and full of thoughts about the overlap between the artistic and the scientific.

A snappy and undeniably bizarre play that’s self-referential and self-aware. ‘Picasso at the Lapin Agile’ was billed as absurd, and absurd it was. Light spoilers to follow...

The scene is set from before you get into the ‘theatre’ with decidedly French mise-en-scene guiding you through the building. Think baguettes and bunched garlic everywhere while dainty café-style tunes warp you back to the early 1900s Parisian streets. 

The Avril Earl centre is also a new setting for a show pour moi. It provided tight, intimate horseshoe seating around a simple set, with that friendly pre-show buzz among the audience you often get at a show.

A play about perspectives and interpretation is served well by the staging which offers myriad views on the action and a dynamic flow of the actors competing to serve each block of viewers.

The stage features no more than a few tables and stools, a modestly stocked bar, coat stand, plants, and paintings – the key one of sheep in a field projected onto a canvas high above the liquor bottles.

A quick Google search of the genuine French bar shows its temporary Guernsey counterpart is pretty much on the money. Kudos again to the charity’s volunteers who build bespoke sets from scratch.

An ominous wicker basket also sits stage right which just before the lights dimmed threw out a shower of sparks, frightening Deputy John Gollop who sat beside it in the process.

The play starts off as wackily as promised jumping suddenly into the action with a crackly BBC radio report from a vintage player reminding the audience to switch off their (non-existent in the period) mobile phones.


Pictured: Jon Ozanne as Pablo Picasso with Miriam Dinis as Suzanne.

The acting and stage presence under this new fringe banner hasn’t diminished from what regular watchers are used to either. From the infectious laugh of Einstein delivered by Michael Sullivan-Pugh to the chaotic wannabe entrepreneur Charles Dabernow Schmendiman (Chris Reeves).

The strong cast and balanced weighting of lines meant everyone got to paint their own impression on the audience.

Without ruining the turn of events, those seated should prepare themselves for a time travelling Elvis Presley. Stephen Hansmann Rouxel clearly hasn’t stopped deploying his thick southern American accent since his leading appearance in 9 to 5 earlier this year.

Dare I say he steals the show when he bursts through the bar's toilet during the ending act, punctuating most of his lines with leg cracks, finger guns, and “oh yeahs”.

It's a randy and raucous start from the new GADOC fringe wing which promises to deliver quirky unique productions.

The one and a half hour run time of its starting effort is also more accessible for weeknight entertainment, ensuring sharp and fast-paced theatre that still leaves much of the evening free.

A welcome initiative – all eyes on what they throw out next.

Pictured (top): Dave Foote as Freddy and Sullivan-Pugh as Albert Einstein. 


Top comedy is first show from new fringe theatre initiative

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