Le Quatuor

Review in Issue 12-1 | Spring 2000

The French string quartet Le Quatuor don’t sit still. They leap and clown and dance their way around the stage like infant prodigies with Attention Deficit Disorder. Using little more than a cello (Laurent Cirade), two violins (Laurent Vercambre and Jean-Claude Camors), a viola (Pierre Ganem) and a breathtaking amount of virtuosity, these hugely-talented musicians take their audience on a journey through a musical landscape which stretches from Beethoven to the Beatles.

They don’t just play their instruments, they play with them. Every possible nuance of sound is squeezed, plucked, pulled and eased out of the instruments. And it’s surprisingly shocking to see classical instruments bashed about with such glee. It’s also refreshing to see so little exclusivity on display, and it takes a great deal of skill to take classical music and use it to transport an audience back to the playground. That is not to say that the group’s work is puerile, for this is one hell of a sophisticated playground. The company use musical references like my flatmate uses men – liberally but with an enormous amount of enthusiasm and imagination – and ideas buzz around the stage like hummingbirds on a summer’s day. What would it be like to play the cello whilst skipping? (You try it!) What would happen if the people playing the music were also playing musical chairs?

The many children in the audience clapped and commented and seemed enraptured by this sophisticated show. The many adults seemed to revel in this brief return to childlike wonderment. If theatre is anything, it is about provoking that inquisitiveness and astonished laughter we knew as children. I urge all you life-worn, work-addled adults out there to see this company and remember just how great playtime used to be.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-1
p. 22