"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Shakespeare's Globe at the Sam
delicious confection for Emma Rice’s swan-song to the Globe: a
brand new pocket musical, given in the intimate Sam Wanamaker
Playhouse. Only a few token candles, but the musicians’ gallery is
well used by Jim Henson’s superb ensemble.
on a much-loved French film, Rice’s
adaptation has music and lyrics by Michael Kooman and Christopher
tells the heart-warming story of two painfully shy people, brought
together by chance and chocolate.
everything can be translated,” our hero remarks. The play begins in
French, but a glorious device – involving a taste of fine dark
chocolate for everyone in the audience – switches the dialogue to
English. In a range of regional accents, too, though the Allo Allo
route proved impossible to resist at times.
company of nine beautifully
the characters, eccentric, lovable, charming;
there is much deft doubling, notably by the superb Philip Cox as the
Ghost of Jean-René’s father, the tongue-tied Pierre and a
sympathetic concierge, and Gareth Snook as the suave chocolate
magnate Mercier, a mumbling recluse and an outrageously operatic
chorus combine the functions of the Greek and Broadway varieties –
telling the story, and giving us some lovely miniature production
numbers. They are variously the employees at the Chocolaterie, and
the members of the support/therapy group Les Emotifs Anonymes.
couple – whose happy ending includes a nod to the Flying Lovers of
Vitebsk, last year’s Rice musical in this space – are Carly
Bawden, demure and self-effacing as Angélique, and Dominic Marsh as
Jean-René, the epitome of sweaty-palmed social paralysis, seeking
confidence from a course of self-help cassettes.
we’ve come to expect, there is much under-scoring, with evocative
and some lovely pastiche numbers – Savoir Faire, and, the best for
my money, the toe-tapping Don’t Think About Love.
much to enjoy – the excruciating scene in the restaurant, the
squeaky office door, the tiny 2CV, the bonus track in the foyer
during the interval.
Angélique’s chocolates, a melt-in-the-mouth delight, an escapist
treat as we wait for winter.
Playhouse added little other than warm intimacy – it’s to be
hoped that this lovely little piece will be seen elsewhere. It would
sit well in any cosy auditorium, even, dare I say, chez Menier, just
around the corner ...