BWW Review: FUNERAILLES D'HIVER at Rideau De Bruxelles
When I got the invitation to review « Funérailles d'Hiver - Une Farce Burlesque avec Chansons » I didn't know what to expect and to be quite honest, at first glance, I didn't expect much at all, mainly because the visual presentation was unattractive and lacking symbolic visual focus. However, appearances were deceiving this time, since this is the only flaw I could find in this wonderfully structured dark comedy. Michael Delaunoy's creativity manages to stay true to the spirit of Hanokh Levin's play and still push its symbolic and visual boundaries beyond its potential, toward a truly entertaining theatrical production.
The opening scene, presenting Angel Samuelov, or in more vulgar terms Death itself, as a crisp, aggressive and yet hypnotising MC, instantly creates addiction to the universe of the play and one wants to see more.
This is one of those special shows that manages to make you love its characters from the very minute they appear on stage. In spite, or rather thanks to, the animation-like acting style, every one of these characters is rich, profound, layered, amusing and extremely well defended by a great group of actors. The casting is so inspired that one can't imagine other actors playing the parts. A special bravo to Frank Michaux for a wonderfully terrifying and seductive Angel Samuelov and to Pierre Aucaigne for his touching and very comic portrayal of professor Kipernai. At the same time, I praise the rest of the cast who all give extraordinary performances worth seeing and enjoying without restraint.
The show is structured with a deep sense of contrast, which is the basis of every successful creation. It is bursting with energy, moments of subtle profoundness and sharp humour.
As far as music is concerned, I am not a hundred per cent sure of the legitimacy of the style proclaimed by the creative team «farce burlesque avec chansons » although the interventions of Samuelov stand as a subtle reference of a Kurt Weil-like dark cabaret and the show doesn't claim at any time to be more than a play with songs. Perhaps it is only for certain « purists » of the genre that the term burlesque might seem somewhat out of tune with the general context of the show. However, the songs are a good pretext to enrich and shade even more colour on the theatrical situations, spicing up the plot whenever the dynamic of the show needs it. Even though the songs in themselves are most of the times simple and lacking substance from a composer or lyricist's point of view, one doesn't expect a musical or an opera. So, they are perfectly suited to what is needed in this production.
"Funérailles d'Hiver" is a voyage into another world. A world where one can accept the existence of a soul gathering entity, a world in which a strong wind can take you from a beach to the highest tops of the Himalayas, a world in which people can: « defy space and time, remaining totally believable. » as the stage director shares with us. It is a great show, with a great cast, a great experience that will definitely leave you wanting more!
Playing at the "Centre Culturel Jacques Frank" in Brussels from the 8th to the 23rd of January 2019! Don't miss it!