Amour at Charing Cross Theatre
It’s a foggy evening in Paris and at a square somewhere, a single lamp post stands like the navel of the world around which all the stories twirl, sway, meet and collide, forming a magical tale of love, mystery and a strange sort of philanthropy. Like a latter-day Robin Hood, a man who can walk through walls takes from the bakers and the jewellers to give to the disadvantaged. Dusoleil (Gary Tushaw) is the dull, nerdy and lonely office clerk whose accidental transformation into Passepartout, the Wall Man, occurs when the power goes out just as he is shuffling about for his keys in front of his apartment.
The spineless Dusoleil finds the fun and adventure to be had with his new powers when his recently appointed boss (Steven Serlin) tells him off for writing a letter to his mother during working hours. Thereafter, the pencil pusher becomes his alter-ego Passepartout, who devotes all his efforts towards gaining the love of Isabelle (Anna O’Byrne). However, the walls of his beloved’s house seem impenetrable even for the hero due to her cruel and controlling husband, the Prosecutor (Alasdair Harvey).
Jeremy Sams’s English adaptation of Michel Legrand’s music for the novel Le Passemuraille (The Man Who Walked Through Walls) by Marcel Aymé is funny, quirky and does not fail in its use of French words, especially as the Whore (Claire Machin) shouts “Baguette!”, causing a fit of laughter across the theatre. Machin’s overall performance is superb and really gives life to an otherwise thin plot. Her character is complemented by another exceptionally funny moment when the new boss (Serlin) attempts to enthuse his workers with his confident declaration that “I’m a dick… I’m a dick… I’m addicted to perfection!”.
Hannah Chissick’s direction makes good use of the “in the round” theatre space while lighting design by Rob Halliday adds the necessary elements to captivate and enchant the audience, especially when voices rise from under the umbrellas with spotlights forming as if the sound comes from the fading stars. While very imaginative, the lighting for this production often leaves one guessing who is doing the singing.
Photos: Scott Rylander
Amour is at Charing Cross Theatre from 2nd May until 20th July 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.