6 December 2019
How to describe the indescribable. What was ‘Les Gloriables’ like? In a nutshell?
The joy of reviewing theatre is that sometimes you do catch artists who create something so off the wall, that it’s almost impossible to sum up what you have just seen.
The audience are met in the auditorium by one of the performing company members who dishes out whiteboard placards for visitors to write slogans on. Handkerchiefs are distributed for onlookers to use to wipe away their tears during the sad parts of what is to come. A Greek Chorus is recruited from the paying public and are instructed to move to the stage at a given moment – complete with masks.
We await the arrival of ‘World Famous actresss, Gloria Delaneuf’. What follows is a quirky, bonkers and funny version of ‘Les Miserables’ performed by the aforementioned actress and her subservient sidekick. Between them they ‘recreate’ some of the set pieces from the book – not the musical – in a variety of skilful comic ways – there is clowning, mime, slapstick and good old-fashioned audience participation and humiliation. All against a set comprising a graffitied Arc de Triomph. It is clever and funny and entertaining and with the political situation in the UK and in France, there is plenty to encourage the audience to join in and shout ‘Vive La Revolution’.
Spitz and Co have taken several tales and ‘Gloriafied’ them – ‘Glorilla’ and ‘Gloriator’ are also in their repertoire and they are to be commended for the creation of a most original piece of theatre. They perform ‘Les Gloriables’ in a shorter, 45 minute, version outdoors – at 70 minutes, the indoor version is just a little long and three-quarters of the way through it started to run out of steam before the climactic and funny ending.
Susie Donkin is perfect as the link between the audience and Gloria and is warm-hearted and very funny. Lise Boucon has created a marvellous character in Gloria – stern, no nonsense, very aware of her sexuality and her feminine wiles. An ideal duo with skills of comedy and timing that are well-honed.
‘Les Gloriables’ is a fun, original and enjoyable entertainment – the like of which you may not have seen before. All power to them for creating something different – it would be even better if a little shorter.
CAST & CREATIVES
Performed by SUSIE DONKIN & LISE BOUCON
Directed by JESS DAWSON, with the support of ANGUS BARR
Devised by SUSIE DONKIN, LISE BOUCON, JESS DAWSON, RINA VERGANO and ANGUS BARR
Dramaturgical support from RINA VERGANO
Designed by SUE CONDIE