Review: EGO-SYSTÈME at Théâtre Essaïon

The production runs at the Théâtre Essaïon until June 10th.

By: May. 21, 2023
Review: EGO-SYSTÈME at Théâtre Essaïon
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With seven nominations for the French Trophées de la Comédie Musicale (Best Musical, Direction, Book, Score, Leading Man, Leading Woman), Égo-Système is bound to be among the winners during this year's ceremony at the Casino de Paris on June 12th. An a cappella musical is a rare breed-the first and last one on Broadway, In Transit, didn't fare too well in 2016-17, closing after 145 performances-and the trend of concept musicals, which started on Broadway with Sondheim's Company in 1970, is now long gone in an era dominated by movie adaptations and juke box musicals. Review: EGO-SYSTÈME at Théâtre Essaïon

After consuming quite a strong space cake, Alban, irresistibly and endearingly played Adrien Biry-Vincente, a thirty-something year old in between jobs and in the middle of an identity crisis, goes on a trip during a boozy evening with three friends. We enter "the museum of his existence" with them, visiting his childhood and teenage years, his loves, his studies, his first job, and so on. The story touches upon his family and professional life, where we meet his dead father and his tyrannical boss, with whom he changes roles and gets payback.

But the heart of the piece revolves around the great love of his life Coline, touchingly played by Cloé Horry, also playing Camomille, The Mother, and Angela. Marie Glorieux, seen at Mogador in Beauty and the Beast and Cats, is equally excellent in the triple part of Licia, The Guide, and The Sister. Rounding out the four-person cast is the always brilliant Swiss-born Vincent Gillieron, Trophée-nominated for his interpretation of Lurch in The Addam's Family in 2018, here playing Vincent, Alexandre, The Father, Angelo, and Young Alban, whose duet with the other Alban is reminiscent of the double Zangler scene in Crazy for You.Review: EGO-SYSTÈME at Théâtre Essaïon

The show is quite a trip, with the company members in multiple roles creating a hallucinatory experience for the audience as well, but the inclusion of simple but efficient choreography by Johan Nus brings some light relief to the complexity of the book by Raphaël Callandreau, doubling as composer and musical director. Nicolas Guilleminot's direction makes for a fast paced, intense 70-minutes, helped by the ingenuous lighting by Patricia Luis-Ravelo.

The absence of music and the bare stage enhance the vocal prowess of the four gifted singer-actors in this odd and unique piece to be discovered or even revisited at the Théâtre Essaïon until June 10th.


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