Le Théâtre Talipot, Passage

Review in Issue 11-3 | Autumn 1999

When Le Théâtre Talipot brought The Water Carriers from their home of Reunion Island to Edinburgh last year, the show became one of the hot tickets of the festival – renowned for its stunning fusion of music, dance and text. This year the company is showing Passage, a large ensemble production which differs from the tight five-man cast of the earlier piece.

Whereas Water Carriers was, in many ways, more of a demonstration of musical and physical skill than a theatre event (too loosely held together to ever really cohere), Passage more carefully and explicitly constructs a central narrative, around which the company weave strands of powerful polyphonic song, driving percussion and some beautiful visuals. Following the journey of a lost traveller who is drawn into a dangerous supernatural underworld, Passage constructs a mythical story of error, faith and redemption, which at worst can seem naive, but at best is engaging and moving. It is undoubtedly the excellent cast that keep the audience going when the story wears a little thin, and every performance is full of commitment and energy.

Leaving the theatre, a promotional desk sells compact discs, posters and glossy brochures, stirring up the hype which is already starting to surround this company. It would be a shame if what is best about this group – the seamless, organic and powerful use of music, movement and song – becomes lost in a marketing drive that sees the company co-opted by the mainstream (like De La Guarda, for instance). But maybe that's where all international innovation goes nowadays, and if Le Théâtre Talipot travel that road, I'm sure they will do very well.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Aug 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-3
p. 19 - 20