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.