Theatre Tent Campbell Park MK9 4AD To 29 July 2012.
28 July 2.30pm & 7.30pm
29 July 4.30pm.
Runs: 1hr 20min No interval.
TICKETS: 01908 280800.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 27 July.
Wittily inventive games-playing show.
As the Olympian contests finally open in Albion, where better to spend the evening than the Theatre Tent at Milton Keynes International Festival, where for four days the nation that didn’t get to host the big contest has the chance to give point-scoring a sporting chance?
The four men and two women of Au Cul du Loup explore the boundary between sport as healthy rivalry and competitive aggression. And they do it noisily. All sorts of sound make up this show, from whirring wires through implements that scrape along the floor with the combined charm of fingers screeching down a blackboard and deep drilling, to a squeaky symphony rhythmically engendered by pumps joining members of two teams at the ankles. Some are quiet – rings working their way down poles; others become increasingly insistent – the bow-like wooden strips the cast push towards each other in the opening section.
Giant fly-swots swish through the air in what might for a moment be tennis doubles, or two figures rustle around in elaborate martial arts costumes made of paper. Things grow nasty when they start tearing each other’s clothes, and positively incendiary when an actual match threatens to light things up.
There’s a general move from preparations – early on the cast trot round the stage on what seem sometimes unreliable steeds suggested by handfuls of clacking wood strips – to open hostilities. Parcel tape is stretched across the floor to create two separate territories; later, cast members encase themselves in this tape as if it were armour.
As such it proves unhelpfully adhesive for close contact wrangling, even if the aim turns out to be amatory rather than injurious. In a few moves the armour tears away, one among several instances of surfaces being removed to suggest the ridiculous nature of the conflicts that can provoke such impressive sounds of fury.
This French company is also up to part-singing, adding a further skill to this very individual piece. Of course, we still got the Olympics. But after the final fury of waves crossing the stage above a dead figure, it doesn’t seem worth fighting over.
Cast and credits not available.