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Festival Review:
Dimanche

Dimanche
J Van Belle

Although it doesn’t come right out and beat you over the head, this at times brilliantly inventive performance piece is all about climate change, like it or not, and our ingenious yet blind and brainless ignorance as it continues to creep up on us.

Sometimes very funny, despite so many of its sketches or chapters ending in darkness and catastrophe, it combines puppetry, mime and genuinely immersive sound design and video trickery to create something new and fresh featuring more than a slight whiff of despair.

All about perspective, we open with an arctic diorama as three performers from the Belgium-based Chaliwaté and Focus companies moved back and forth upon it physically becoming the snowy terrain upon which a vehicle was travelling, with the passengers listening to Paul Simon’s 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. Suddenly we shifted to a comic sequence where we see them bouncing along inside, before they emerge to make what could have been film about climate change, in garbled and interrupted French.

This wasn’t about language though, so subtitles weren’t necessary, and soon we moved to a wonderfully sad sequence involving polar bears (a masterful bit of puppet work) before the entire Space Theatre’s, ahem, space opened out to reveal an unrelated (?) skit showcasing an ailing granny, scorching temperatures and unpredictable furniture.

A lovely highlight with an apparent flamingo pays off later as a sumptuous feast is almost consumed while a gale-force wind wreaks havoc on the diners (a quite hilarious bit even if its deeper meaning was dire), and then further in-the-wild crews and scientists come to grief as other Paul Simon tunes play. It was hard to keep track of which players were doing what at any given point too, or how they managed such accessible, even teen-friendly humour when what’s being said is so damn serious.

What exactly it all has to do with Dimanche – French for Sunday – is also left unclear. Maybe all these troubling events transpire on a particularly eventful and calamitous sabbath? And prepare for the end of the world as we know it on Lundi – sorry, Monday.

Dimanche was performed at Space Theatre on Friday 28 February

Until 7 March

Adelaide Festival:
Dimanche

DM Bradley

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