La Compagnie du Hanneton, The Junebug Symphony

Review in Issue 13-2 | Summer 2001

A man in white pyjamas tosses and turns in restless sleep on a large white-sheeted bed: dreams are disturbing his slumber and the bed becomes the life raft on to which he clings as the real merges with the dreamt. Producer/performer James Thierrée opens The Junebug Symphony, the debut production of his new company, with a clown routine of simple and hilarious effectiveness, drawing us into the bizarre world of La Compagnie du Hanneton.

What ensues is a fluid journey through a fantastic and poetic fusion of theatre and circus. A painting comes alive and sings soprano; a violinist on rollerblades gently glides in and out of shadows; and a dinner party disintegrates into a battle in which cutlery and plates become armour and the combatants strange mythical beasts of the dining table. These are just a few of the many brilliantly evoked moments in this rich production

There are also more traditional circus 'routines’ which pale into insignificance against the backdrop of the more dynamic use of the physical, as when Thierrée's doppelganger wrestles with an armchair and the beautiful contortionist enthrals with her incredible and eerie ability.

The weight of a dynasty of performers could sit heavily on James Thierrée but it doesn't. Son of Victoria Chaplin and Jean-Baptiste Thierrée and grandson of Charlie Chaplin, Thierrée continues this extraordinary lineage with a production which is a visual feast, an entertaining romp through the realm of the surreal and absurd. But most of all it is intelligent and sophisticated circus theatre, a regular occurrence the other side of the water but still to be seen here on any large scale.

Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-2
p. 27 - 28