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A CurtainUp Review
As artists and metaphysicians know, and as the indomitable Leo discovers, the mind and the imagination can set you free. Under the meticulously prescribed guidance of director Daniel Brière and with the artistry of video designer Heiko Kalmbach and animator Ingo Panke, Leo is an extraordinarily witty series of misadventures as determined and experienced by the titular character.
With only a small suitcase in tow, Leo finds himself trapped within a tiny, empty box-like room without a window or a door. Wegner, a performer of uncommon grace and agility, uses his physical dexterity to bring definition and dimension to a surreal world that he and his multi-media collaborators have created for our amusement. Born out of his character’s instinct to escape, and out of an imagination unencumbered by gravity, Leo allows us to follow him from one humorous challenge to another and from different perspectives – hanging from the ceiling, climbing the walls and getting into unlikely corners with both comical and casual aplomb.
Wegner’s earth-bound movements have been beautifully choreographed by Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola) who has made sure that the movements of Wegner on the screen appear to be in defiance of the laws of gravity and physics. But poor isolated Leo soon realizes that he needs more substance around him once he has fully explored his space. His attempt to create a living environment gains momentum as he begins to draw on the walls, the floor and on the ceiling objects, both animate and inanimate, that will bring the room to life.
The illusion of defying gravity is Leo’s major conceptual conceit. Even more delightful is the pleasure we get seeing not only how this amazing and disarming character figures out how to adapt to his environment but also how this strange new world is defined for us through the wonder of CGI (computer generated imagery) effects.
Leo’s moods are nicely augmented with musical bits from Sinatra, Swan Lake, The Grits and Ravi Shankar and even a lovely saxophone played by Wegner. Whether Leo is welcomed in the New York with the same enthusiasm that greeted it earlier this year at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe remains to be seen. I certainly fell for it head-over-heels.
Anything Goes Cast Recording
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Slings & Arrows-the complete set
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