Compagnie Leandre-Claire, Madame et Monsieur

Review in Issue 14-1 | Spring 2002

Inspired by silent movies, Madame et Monsieur is Chaplinesque, Keatonesque genius. Leandre Ribera and Claire Ducreux play two homeless waifs who meet, fall in love and begin to dream. Brown paper packing tape that they find in the dustbin becomes the bricks and mortar of their fantasy home as they build a life together, get married and have a child. They hang pictures on the wall, make plants grow, eat great meals, dance the tango, kiss, make love, clean, listen to the radio…

The performers utilise their phenomenal physical expertise to bring layer upon layer of meaning to moves both simple and complicated. There are numerous physical games played between them which take the audience into a realm of such tenderness and mutual support – she gets upset when he walks through the walls of their make-believe house; he tries to make her realise it’s not real while at the same time unfailingly supporting her dreams.

The piece is brilliantly interlinked by piano music played by David Moreno (who becomes part of the action on many occasions) and the excellent ‘special effects man’ Aimon Ninerola, who is credited in the programme as ‘The Other’. The irony emanating from his signposting, pancake flipping, rain and other effects is quite simply hilarious. He also plays a brilliant tramp in search of a drink coming in from the outside world into their fantasy and disrupting everything.

This device of bringing someone from the outside in is further explored when a member of the audience is brought onstage to play the couple’s child.

The night I saw it, they manoeuvred the action so well it was impossible to see how this could ever fail. The whole audience were smitten by the touching sincerity of the performers and their interaction with another human being from another world. They even presented him with his own roll of brown packing tape so he could go and build his own dream house. Compagnie Leandre-Claire are a rare jewel in this world and must be treated as such. Pure joyous genius.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-1
p. 24 - 25