Phillinn Rae, Memoire de la Nuit

Review in Issue 19-2 | Summer 2007

As soon as I stepped into the theatre at the ICA, a sense of inevitability seeped into the expectation which attends the entering of a performance space: I knew what to expect. Of course, this is not strictly true; one of the reasons theatre can be so enjoyable is that it can always surprise us, and confound our expectations. I wish I had been proved wrong, and that the performance had explored unfamiliar territory, but it did not. Boë is a skilled performer whose currency is illusion and physical dexterity, and whose palette is Magritte-inspired surrealism, and all the attendant physical theatre accoutrements: hats, walking sticks, suits, shoes, trenchcoats, umbrellas, eggs. Also perfectly consonant with this style is a ‘mysterious’ story (I would question whether the creators themselves know what it is about), a fascination with dreams, surprise phone calls, strangers, shadows. So often in work like this, there is a sense that much time has been spent on rehearsing physical tricks, and none on the development of interesting text; indeed there is an uncomfortable muted quality, whereby speaking at all seems to become increasingly difficult, and text consequently banal. The illusions were slick and as such, enjoyable: a telephone receiver leaping into Boë’s hand from nowhere; objects moving, disappearing and materialising in unexpected places. But when I saw the chest-of-drawers at the beginning of the show, I wondered if Boë planned to disappear into it. And so he did. There is nothing much to complain about in this competent wander around a gallery of theatre arts. That is my complaint.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2007

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-2
p. 26