Victoria Thierrée-Chaplin / Aurélia Thierrée, Aurelia’s Oratorio

Review in Issue 17-3 | Autumn 2005

Some girls seem to have blessings heaped upon them at birth, and Aurelia Thierrée is one of them: first, there is the family heritage – great-granddaughter of music hall star Lily Harley, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, daughter of ‘new circus’ gods Jean-Baptiste Thierrée and Victoria Thierrée-Chaplin. She and brother James Thierrée (Compagnie du Hanneton) famously made their stage debut – aged three or so – in their parents’ Cirque Imaginaire, as suitcases that sprouted little legs… Then there’s the good looks – boy, have those legs grown up nicely, here seen snaking in and out of a chest of drawers in a classy reworking of the dismembered lady variety act. So – a wonderful showbiz heritage, great looking and a highly experienced and talented performer… what more could we want? A skilful team of supporting cast/technicians? Check – Aurelia is ably aided and abetted onstage by dancer Timothy Harling and a three-strong team of skilful object manipulators. How about a show that is a surreal and sophisticated visual delight? Check – director/designer Chaplin creates a staggering number of classy visual gags and moving pictures to amaze. Every vaudeville turn that you can think of is subverted, undermined, re-presented, but – and here’s the ace card – with all the same skill and expertise that would have been expected of the trick in its original form. No postmodern pastiche here; instead a gorgeous reworking of all the things that we love about circus, vaudeville and music hall. One example – I could have picked a hundred – a regular sort of tissu aerial number suddenly takes off in extraordinary new directions as the voluptuous red curtains framing the stage take on a life of their own; dipping and swinging, dancing and flirting. Yes, I said flirting: you too will believe curtains have a beating heart. Catch her if you can… Aurelia is in a class of her own – a magic life indeed.

Artforms
Date Seen
  1. May 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-3
p. 24