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Bells and Spells

“A peculiar theatrical magic”

This new show by Victoria Thierrée Chaplin (daughter of Charlie, granddaughter of Eugene O’Neill), weaves a peculiar but slightly frustrating theatrical magical.

Thierrée Chaplin’s daughter Aurélia stars as a sort of soubrette kleptomaniac in a beaded evening gown, filching her way through cloakrooms, boutiques and laundry baskets.

Each new scene is conjured up by a variety of sliding screens, shabby furniture and deft physical trickery, with enough props to fill a brocante. A whirling encounter with a dancing gent in dress uniform (Jaime Martinez) leads to a bout of petty theft rather than romance, while a hunched neighbourhood lady exchanging chit-chat falls prey to Thierrée’s light-fingered ways and loses all her accessories in the process.

Though Martinez moonlights as several characters (neighbour included) he still seems underused among the bric-a-brac. Thierrée has enough mercurial magpie charm to carry the show, especially when she’s somehow transformed or transported by the trappings of her thieving habit: a strategically wielded coat hanger becomes the beaky profile of a bird; an enormous steed emerges from a stack of coat stands to carry her away from the dancing swain.

At one point, via a tricksy confection of sheets and hats, she gains the appearance of a reptile – it’s here that the strange, solitary nature of the character reads most poignantly.

Other scenes, involving medieval paintings and a trio of papal puppets, are less successful: the dream-like logic and absurd energy that animates the show feels frustratingly insubstantial and all the futzing leads nowhere new.

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Production Details
Production nameBells and Spells
VenueCoronet Theatre
StartsDecember 2, 2019
EndsDecember 14, 2019
Running time1hr 10mins
DirectorVictoria Thierrée Chaplin
CastJaime Martinez, Aurélia Thierrée
TechnicalGerd Walter
ProducerCoronet Theatre
VerdictCharming but occasionally frustrating physical theatre show follows a kleptomaniac’s absurd adventures
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Anna Winter

Anna Winter

Anna Winter

Anna Winter

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