Mr. Carmen

Manipulate Festival

Traverse Theatre 

7th February

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Two Creepy clown pirates with impeccable beards grace the stage as floating heads on a seaside style portrait-booth. These are cross-dressing alcoholics that smoke.. in front of a live audience. Actually, the smoking was fragrant, so clearly not the real thing but they made up for it by spraying a can of toxic spray paint to write Carmen. These demonic white-face-painted degenerates use the effects of smoking and severe alcoholism to animate their concerns in their small world created for themselves on stage. Their props, of which there seems to be an inexhaustible amount, include suitcases and doll. These dolls are tied to a reel that makes a square track around the two men. It appears like a boxing ring and they compete to see who can spell their words out the best. The words are Jose and Carmen, for the inspiration for this performance piece comes from Carmen by Prosper Merimee written in 1845 and of course is more commonly known because of the opera based on this story.

The words are spat out in wine through projected light, or written in silk atop a voodoo doll with the pins that are farrier’s nails. It is all very inventive, & its sheer brilliance to see such people really experimenting with how truly weird they can be : the world is way too full of people trying to be normal and these two men are clearly not that. The characters have a unique eccentric bond, and although they compete they are one and the same. In fact I had to ask myself how much these fellows are actually like this for real and if so I wondered where they they be heading for a drink next…..I’d like to join them! They stab at each other with knifes and steal each others cigarettes, as if they are siblings.

A performance of Carmen five years ago

The show is surrealistic in nature and quite like a horror in content, the score is dark and ominous at times or chaotic and unsettling at others. This creates an intensity that is a direct contrast to the more slapstick style comedy parts of the show, and it makes for an ingenious emotional roller coaster. The beards are pretty trashed by the end but that’s mostly because they are saturated in wine.

Reviewer : Sarah Marshall

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Posted on February 9, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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