City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Nouvelles Folies Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 07 August 2009

Show details
New Town Theatre
Fiat Lux
Running time: 
Didier Guyon (creator), Alain Burkarth (settings), Brice Taillandier (lighting), Alan James (sound)
Pascal Cariou, Eddy Del Pino, Didier Guyon, Isobel Hazelgrove, Pascal Orveillon, Dominique Prie, Lena Chambouleyron (performers)

Created in 1990 by Didier Guyon, Fiat Lux is one of France's leading physical mime companies and has presented its shows all over the world. Nouvelles Folies is described as ‘Silent Burlesque Theatre,' but it is only silent in as much as there is no dialogue.

As in the films of Jacques Tati, particularly Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, there are plenty of other sounds like the sea and the rain, Breton pipes and chanting, jungle sounds (a particularly comic part!), motor boats and the noise of skimming stones and pip spitting, as well as all the wonderful musical jokes that punctuate the piece. Nouvelles Folies was first performed in 1999 but look out for very contemporary references!

When a young Parisian couple arrive at a Breton seaside resort on holiday, they are immediately put on the back foot when they ask directions from a local fisherman. His elaborate, complicated, acrobatically mimed directions are a wonderful metaphor for when different dialects and cultures meet, reminiscent of the hilarious French film Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tis.

They reach their accommodation, in the form of one of the three beach huts that is part the fabulously imaginative yet simple set, and the dynamics between them and the four fishermen continues. The couple vainly tries to blend in by wearing Breton jerseys that none of the locals do. The fishermen dance to Breton pipes in the relaxed imperfect unity of locals while all the city man can manage is a weak soft shoe shuffle.

The presence of a new, pretty woman in their midst (they treat the local beauty as one of the boys) brings out all the fishermen's male competitiveness and Fiat Lux show this hilariously with their controlled clowning, always a hairsbreadth from mishap.

They make the complex look easy and natural with their perfect timing and comic interpretation of astutely observed body language. They are artists of a high order whose compelling skill and humour engaged the audience from the word go. Refreshing and old fashioned all at once, it would be folly to miss this surreal and funny show!

Times: 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29 August, 7:40pm.