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A CurtainUp London Review
Toujours Et Près De Moi
What gives the piece a wonderfully imaginative quality is the juxtaposition of the actors interacting with miniature versions of themselves. The way in which the scale of the figures changes is in itself, fascinating. Two actors Klas Lagerlund and Anna Martine place two wooden boxes on the stage and from these boxes, like containers of their condensed inners selves, comes an amazing experience. I could feel my jaw dropping as I saw a full sized human hand stretching over the edge of the small box, followed by her arm until the girl clambered out. Even in this day of holographic imagery what I was seeing onstage was ethereal and other worldly.
Patrick Eakin Young and Opera Erratica bring to Anda Winters and Lucy Bailey’s wonderful boutique theatre, The Print Room in Notting Hill, Toujours Et Près De Moi (Forever Close to You). The music is pre recorded, some of it modern vocal, some medieval choral, but all of it, evocative and atmospheric. Klas Lagerlund and Anna Martin are the actors telling the story of a relationship through music, with Jordon Stevens playing their longed for child.
The movement has these exciting possibilities as the actors look down on each other’s image. There is dance and of course all is without words. The words of the music do not intrude, so mime and movement tell the story. But somehow the storyline is less important than the emotions conveyed by the spectacle itself as we enter into the distillation of the essence of the characters.
The actors have to interact with their smaller selves without seeing the figures and using the music as a cue, but it will have you asking how it can be so technically seamless. At one point the man shakes the woman out of her box and she tumbles onto the table. His life sized face will show exasperation with her or together the smaller figures with curl up on the box together as if it is their bed. It is so dark in the theatre, I can’t read my notes written on the night but I don’t need them to remember the magic of this evening.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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