Friday, 30 October 2009

Arturo Brachetti, Change - Garrick Theatre, London

Arturo Brachetti - Change
Reviewer: Evelyn Downing

There was an audible gasp from the audience as this show opened; the moment we witnessed the first instant transformation was stunning.

Brachetti has taken what is essentially a very simple concept – changing costumes extremely fast – and turned it into an art form. He has a wonderful physicality about his performance which is very engaging and gives him the great presence essential for a one man show.

The big production pieces were slick, seamless and brilliantly executed. His routines take the audience around London (I particularly enjoyed seeing Sid Vicious become the Queen!), into sc
enes from the past, through the seasons and on a whistle stop tour of the movies.

The use of a wonderfully constructed moving set that opens and closes to provide scene changes and illusions of its own, projections, lights and sound all add to the spectacle, providing a solid backdrop onto which Brachetti can lay his blend of illusion and magic. There is even a wonderful bit of shadow puppetry using only hands that includes a rather risqué rabbit...

This said however the show lacked soul. The routines were tied together rather clumsily by a slightly ineffective narrative that told a version of the story of his life and the use of projections and films meant that Brachetti was actually off stage for long periods of time. It felt as if the writer couldn’t quite decide if it was a piece of theatre or a magical showcase and the build to the ‘final transformation’ was a definite anti-climax.

Although I walked away feeling it could have been so much more with the addition of a stronger plot or more emphasis on the routines as routines, there were plenty of laughs and the spectacle is well worth a look. Overall it was a very enjoyable evening out.

Runs until 3rd January 2010
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