The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and touring
THE DARK SOIDE OF BUFFOON
by The Brothers Marquez,
Belgrade Theatre (B2) To 20 March 2010.
8pm Mat 17, 20 March 2.45pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 024 7655 3055.
Review: Jan Pick 4 March.
Cirque du Surreal.
Roll up, Roll up and take your seat for the Marquez Brothers’ ‘circus’ of the weird, the wonderful and the seriously bizarre.
What a strange mix of clowning, buffoonery and tragedy this piece is. Devised and performed by the Brothers Marquez in the studio space, B2, at the Belgrade, it is a nightmarish journey into the absurd. Set in an Italian circus around the turn of the 20th century, the play features a rather pathetic family – a depressive father, his simpleton son, and the son’s rather vicious puppet brother – down at heel and sleeping rough.
We are dragged into what initially appears to be a series of random sketches swirling around this central family, peopled with mafia mobsters, bumpkin fools, a vengeful Doge, a bearded lady, and a plethora of other strange characters. Gradually a pattern emerges, and a real tragicomic story unfolds.
With echoes of Waiting for Godot, theatre of the absurd, and the Marx Brothers, a touch of The League of Gentlemen and a twist of Roald Dahl, the Marquez Brothers’ humour is simplistic, occasionally crude and often cruel, reflecting the broad slapstick of clowns in the circus. A sinister, nightmarish element is pervades everything, from the ventriloquist style puppet brother to the macabre and sadistic Doge.
Martin and John Marquez do some incredibly fast changes, transforming from one character to another almost seamlessly, with some help from beautiful shadow projection work onto a billowing stage cloth, and a revolve that changes the scene in the blink of an eye. The set design of objects dangling in a peculiar hanging mobile above a shadowed circus wagon, the lighting and sound all add to an evening of uncomfortable enjoyment. If you like your theatre off-beat and surreal, and you enjoy the circus, get to see this before the wagons roll on to the Lyric, Hammersmith.
Character: John Marquez.
Character: Martin Marquez.
Director: Timothy Sheader.
Designer/Costume: Michael Pavelka.
Lighting: Malcolm Rippeth.
Sound: Martyn Davies.
Composer: David Shrubsole.
Video: Arnim Friess.