Song of the Goat, Traverse, Manipulate Festival, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Compagnie à
Nicolas Alline and Dorothée Saysombat (writers and artistic directors),
Nicolas Gallard (composer), Thérèse Angebault (costumes) Rodrigue Bernard (lighting)
Nicolas Alline, Dorothée Saysombat, Jean-Pierre Hollebecq (actors) Nicolas Gallard (musician)

Running time

Expect the unexpected from Compagnie à from Angers in France who bring their acclaimed show Le Chant du Bouc (Song of the Goat) to this year’s Manipulate Festival for its UK Première.

Opening like a low budget version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, we are confronted by the corpse of a goat. And not just any corpse. This caprine corpse has been stabbed to death. The question is - who committed this bizarre crime and why are the three attendees at his funeral so distraught? Equally troubling is why have they rolls of sticky back plastic stuck to their faces?

With the aid the animated fourth character in the form of multi- talented Nicolas Gallard on live percussion and foley, the three actors take us back in time to reveal the mystery. In a clever, comic and entertaining style, the actors re- create an orderly, neighbourly scene of miniature houses with well maintained gardens and family dogs on a set of tables behind which the action is performed in sync. Their Trumpton- like existence is shattered when a new neighbour arrives on the scene whose style of living is diametrically opposed to the status quo, triggering chaos.

To the sound of ‘50s style happy go lucky sitcom music, the ensemble fuses the deceptive simplicity of children’s theatre with dark and murderous themes of an adult world. The consequences of territories being shifted and alliances threatened; the disruption of their perceived order pitted against someone trying to fit in are all present in this deliciously comic surreal treat.

The trio, whose facial expressions are a delight, performs expert precision clowning complete with some cartoonish violence and chasing around the long red curtain that hangs on stage in this low tech wordless piece. Long legged Nicolas Alline is positively Tatiesque down to the white sandshoes of his late fellow countryman, the belovèd character Monsieur Hulot.

Song of the Goat is a beautifully executed exposé performance from a talented and inventive ensemble of what dark conniving can lurk behind polite façades.

Monday 29 January, 7.30pm age suitability 12+