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Fishbowl review at Pleasance Grand, Edinburgh – ‘acutely observed physical theatre’

Pierre Guillois, Agathe L'Huillier and Olivier-Martin-Salvan in Fishbowl at Pleasance Grand, Edinburgh
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Pierre Guillois is on to a winner with his new play Fishbowl. Not only did it win France’s Molière Award for best comedy play in 2017, but it’s custom-made for an international market.

Set in three tiny bedsits, high up in the rooftop of a Parisienne house, we observe three neighbours going about their daily business – two men and a woman. They are so intrinsically different and yet they bond through a series of emotional and sexual misadventures.

The joy of Guillois’ work, which features no dialogue, is that each twist and turn of the narrative is so perfectly observed. It’s akin to watching a full-colour, live-action silent movie, complete with an upbeat score and some wonderfully constructed physical gags. It’s Mr Bean meets Rising Damp.

Yet for all the toilet humour and pratfalls – and the funniest bra-on-a-wire joke since Barbara Windsor’s – there is a poignant, dramatic edge too. It shows the often vast difference between our private lives and our public selves. It details the physical and sociological patterns we fall into without even realising it and what happens when these constructs defeat us.

Praise too must go to the creative team, including set designer Laura Léonard for creating what could easily be described as the fourth character in the show.

Designer Laura Léonard: ‘If you know how to design a house, you can design a stage set’

 

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Verdict
Acutely observed piece of physical theatre suited to an international audience
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