Image Great Artists Steal (L to R) Mélanie Tanneau, Siva Nagapattinam Kasi, Cédric Mérillon. Photo: Theatraverse

Edinburgh Fringe: Theatraverse’s “Great Artists Steal”

(Above  L to R) Mélanie Tanneau, Siva Nagapattinam Kasi, Cédric Mérillon. Photo: Theatraverse
Review by Jo Tomalin

Wonderfully Absurdist Bilingual Play…

Image Great Artists Steal  (L to R) Mélanie Tanneau, Siva Nagapattinam Kasi. Photo: Theatraverse

Great Artists Steal
(L to R) Mélanie Tanneau, Siva Nagapattinam Kasi.
Photo: Theatraverse

New Absurdist bilingual French/English play Great Artists Steal written by Belfast based Seamus Collins and Directed by Joanne Allan is running at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival: The Space, Venue 45 on August 2-9, 11-16 and 18-23 at 8:35pm (20:35).

This fascinating well acted 50 minute play is set in the future after an unknown apocalyptic event and the three characters – The Woman, The Man and The Younger Man – seem to have regressed, prompting compelling questions about relearning how to live and the importance of inventing bread and even the wheel, in the spirit of Beckett with a touch of humor.

Image Great Artists Steal (L to R) Mélanie Tanneau, Cédric Mérillon. Photo: Theatraverse

Great Artists Steal
(L to R) Mélanie Tanneau, Cédric Mérillon.
Photo: Theatraverse

The Theatraverse company from France specializes in French/English bilingual theatre and often teach bilingual theatre workshops or conferences with their productions. All three actors and Allan, the company director return to the Festival after a very successful and highly praised run of Theatraverse’s Rhinoceros at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe. In this 2014 production of Great Artists Steal Allan collaborated with author Collins on the development of the play, and her staging  and design is influenced by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, Peter Brook, and Robert Wilson.

Image Great Artists Steal (L to R) Mélanie Tanneau. Photo: Theatraverse

Great Artists Steal
(L to R) Siva Nagapattinam Kasi, Mélanie Tanneau.
Photo: Theatraverse

Allan’s cast of bilingual actors are energetic, physical and precise. The Woman played by Mélanie Tanneau, is a strong and complex character who (re)invented singing and bread. Tanneau is vibrant, bold, sensitive and at times clownesque. Siva Nagapattinam Kasi is wonderful as The Man, an inventor, who is solid and strong, a bit naïve but with an ego.  Cédric Mérillon’s The Younger Man is smart and Mérillon plays him so well – fresh, lively, nuanced and charming. Interestingly,  the relationships among the characters change as the characters realize they have  feelings and inventions develop.

This is a production of quality and finesse, with a bit of quirkiness. Collins’s words play with language in a regressive and witty way, the actors are outstanding, and the director has created a spirited and stylish production that is ready for prime time. Go and see it!

For more information:
theSpace @ Venue45
(Venue 45)
63 Jeffrey Street
EH1 1DH
Box office:
0131 510 2381

Theatraverse
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014

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About the Author

Jo TomalinOriginally from England Jo Tomalin is currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is a reviewer for Dance & Theatre at www.ForAllEvents.com and works in the performing arts as a freelance movement & voice specialist, director + actor. She is also a Professor in the School of Theatre & Dance at San Francisco State University, teaching Movement for actors, Voice, Storytelling, Business of Acting and Acting and directs. Jo Tomalin studied Classical Ballet for 12 years. She graduated from London University's Laban Centre teaching credential program in Modern Dance, Art of Movement & Choreography, then she trained in Physical Theatre, Masks, and Devised theatre at the renowned professional acting school "Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq" Paris, France. She also studied Classical Acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London; and Voice and Acting at Trinity College of Dramatic Art, London. Jo Tomalin is a member of: American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA); and the Dance Critics Association (DCA).View all posts by Jo Tomalin →