City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

La Poème Review


By Irene Brown - Posted on 23 August 2013

La Poème's Jeanne Mordoj
4
Show details
Venue: 
Summerhall
Company: 
Crying Out Loud with Company Bal/Jeanne Mordoj
Running time: 
30mins
Production: 
Jeanne Mordoj (creator), Isabelle Surel (sound design), Claire Villard (light design)
Performers: 
Jeanne Mordoj

In the world of magic, women are generally no more than ‘the lovely assistant’. Not so with French cult performer Jeanne Mordoj. In this world première of her one woman show, La Poème, she gives a uniquely sassy performance of muscular physicality, inventive magic skills, singing and juggling.

Dressed in a style of an indeterminate 20th century period that is chic, sexy and not quite of now, Mordoj stands in the light of a diagonal set in a façade of innocence. In her hand is a squeeze box masquerading as a valise. As a herald to the unexpectedness of this show, and with shades of Ivor Cutler, the hum of the harmonium starts to fill the hall with no apparent input from its holder. Eggs are produced from strange places and Mordoj tramples their shells as she also tramples preconceptions about female performers.

With the gentlest hint of threat, this unusual performance culminates in quietly frenzied movements reminiscent of the great dancer of the 1930s, Joséphine Baker in Zou Zou as a panther like shadow looms behind Mordoj. To a calypso beat, she ripples her tummy muscles and contorts her toned and supple body. The effect is funny and fascinating; an altogether sexier and cheekier feat compared to muscle man Tony Holland’s ironically static muscle display to the cha cha cha tune of Wheels that wowed British TV audiences in the 1960s!

Here is a woman who can turn an à la mode fascinator into a pair juggling and dancing breasts with comic physical abandon. In doing so she takes the power. She can grimace her face, distort her body, do subversively funny mime and be fearless as only a magician in a bra can be!

As this piece of strange and sophisticated burlesque that goes beyond titillation comes to an end, Mordoj’s plaintive chants slowly melt in to the shadows. This is a thrilling piece of feminine bijou entertainment.

Show times

21 to 25 August, 7.45pm

Tickets

£11

Suitability 10+