City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Julien Cottereau - Imagine-toi Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 07 August 2010

Show details
Assembly, TS5 and Little one
Running time: 
Julien Cottereau (clown)

Under the magic pink glow of Salon Speculaire’s half circus, half nightclub atmosphere (Spiegeltent in another life), the audience, of all ages, waited to the plip plop sound that signalled the arrival of Julien Cottereau on stage to perform in his award winning solo show, Imagine-toi.

Cottereau, former star of the famous Cirque de Soleil, has taught and given workshops around the world, worked with children’s charities and has taught and performed in Gaza and Jerusalem East for refugee Palestinian children. He served as Artistic Director and clown for a tour in Afghanistan and served as co-Artistic Director and clown for a tour around Sudan. He is a graduate of the National Drama School, Paris.

He brings the show Imagine-toi to the Fringe after a seven-month sell-out run in Paris.

This is the time of year is when lanyards are worn all over the Capital with the pride of a designer garment, but Monsieur Cottereau needs no such accoutrements. Dressed in a kind of vulnerable chic and with the air of an ingénu, he comes on stage armed with nothing but his genius for making sound effects, astoundingly syncing these sounds to actions and having amazing slim agility. With these, he takes the audience through the gamut of fantastic adventures with gum, fair maidens, roaring beasts, cameras and catwalks, much of the scenes punctuated by the sound of guitar a gunfight showdown.

But there’s no opponent. Like Chaplin, Tati and Marceau, he is solitary; out of step. He shows traits of these giants but creates his own unique youthful comic performance. He skilfully chooses his participants from the audience, miming his instructions to them and bringing out their dark or extrovert side to hilarious effect. Live theatre is by its nature slightly different every show and this one particularly will be because of this element of unrehearsed participation. Cottereau is a democrat with his novices but his masterly techniques are always evident.

To the sound of Ed Harcourt singing Weary and Bleary Eyed, he managed to cycle with no bike as he was applauded by a standing crowd. Captivating and thoroughly entertaining theatre.

Show Times:
5–29 August (not 9, 16 & 23 August), 4.15pm

Ticket Prices:
Saturday 7, 8 Aug and Tue – Thu 19 August, £13 (£12)
Friday – Sundays, and Thu 26 Aug, £14 (£13)