Photo - Fred Debrock
Peeping Tom (founded in 2002 by Gabriela Carrizo and Franck Chartier) are a Belgium-based company at the forefront of Europe’s physical theatre scene. Their work is a fusion of dance and music and theatre, combining the elements to tell stories which peep behind the facade – stories of misfortune and darkness which reveal the funny beauty of life.
Le Salon is a story of a family in decline. In an old apartment lounge room, cluttered with memories, four generations and their stories are interwoven and entangled, creating a picture of a family in freefall.
This is a very dark piece, but the audience laughed loudly. In this, the success of Peeping Tom can be found. Peeping Tom are a clever, perceptive ensemble with a delightfully dark and honest sense of humour.
The choreography was at once awe-inspiring for its pushing of physical limits, cute, and witty, but always added to and intensified the story, telling us more than words ever could. There was a lip-locked (literally) dance of love between the young couple (Carrizo and Chartier), a sunglasses-wearing super-mum (Carrizo) stuck in a tai-chi cycle, a grandfather (Simon Versnel) joyfully remembering a ballet dance from his youth. There were six-packs (or perhaps, twenty-four packs is more accurate) and incredible displays of strength and controlled chaos from Chartier and Samuel Lefeuvre. And there was a very odd sequence in which the grandfather shunned his cabaret-singing wife (Eurudike de Beul) before joyfully proceeding to cut his pubic hair as he continued her song.
Mezzo-soprano, Beul, who sung live throughout the performance, intensified the ever-present lingering atmosphere of melancholy with songs of yearning and desire. Beul was fearless in the use of her voice, singing with power and fragility.
Perhaps my description of Beul’s voice is a contradiction. Peeping Tom, however, seems to thrive on this idea of opposition, connecting with its audience by finding the light and shade of darkness.
Concept & Dancers - Gabriela Carrizo, Franck Chartier, Samuel Lefeuvre & Simon Versnel
Venue: the Arts Centre, Playhouse
Dates: Thu 22 – Sat 24 Oct at 8pm
Matinee: Sat 24 Oct at 2pm
Duration: 1hr 20min no interval