"La Mouche showed exactly why Euan is held in such high regard both on home turf and abroad."
“I killed him. I finished him off with my own hand.” Join us for a trip into ‘Class A’ 1950s B-Movie madness, where we meet Nicole, a ‘pretty little housewife’ who seemingly has just confessed to the gruesome murder of Pepe, her eccentric (yet brilliant) scientist husband only weeks after he finished work on his revolutionary new ‘discombobulating teleporting re-erector machine’, a device designed to transport matter through the airwaves at the touch of a button. Surely nothing can go wrong?
When times are tough and there are questions needing answered, it’s time to call the one man in France capable of getting to the bottom of any tangled web, Inspector Ivan Charasse who aims to find out if the unfortunate events of this fateful night were simply another case of marital neglect gone very wrong, or if there is something more suspicious (or is that preposterous) in the air?
3 actors, 8 characters and 1 pesky housefly make up this charmingly dark, laugh a minute riot that will transport you to a time where the ‘World of Tomorrow’ was just around the corner.
Featuring a vividly atmospheric new score by Matthew Rooke.
What the Papers said ....
It’s hosted plenty of fantastic shows over the years, but in the past few weeks The Maltings has shown that it’s more than capable of producing high calibre shows of its own as the theatre unleashed another original beauty on its audience thanks to Matthew Rooke and a trio of fantastic actors.
The show opened to a packed Henry Travers Studio on Thursday but I got the impression that for Matthew this show wasn’t about getting bums on seats. For me it felt like Matthew knew what fine talent he had in the shape of Euan McIver, Mark Vevers and Holly Thomas and he wanted to give them a show that would both test them and offer them the opportunity to really come into their own.
And with a number of solo scenes with just a captive audience for company, ‘La Mouche’s’ script certainly wasn’t one for an actor afraid
of a challenge.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one not quite sure what to expect and I will admit to feeling slightly unnerved when Euan McIver, bathed in some sinister red lighting, started things off in a Vincent Price like manner.
This wasn’t a show that had you sitting comfortably in your seat safe in the knowledge of what was going to happen next and Euan’s scary opening monologue was both chilling and intriguing. It was in fact the epitome of everything that was great about ‘La Mouche’. This was a production that wasn’t there to be pigeon holed. With elements of Hitchcock-like horror; some innuendo of the Kenneth Williams ilk and some good old fashioned humour and well timed asides, ‘La Mouche’ was in a genre all of its own.
Mark Vevers is an absolutely fantastic comic actor so for him ‘La Mouche’ was a gift sent from the theatrical gods. His main guise in the equation was Inspector Ivan Charasse, a detective who certainly was like a cocktail of ‘Allo, Allo, League of Gentleman and New
Tricks’- an unlikely but in this case entirely satisfying mix. Some actors are content to focus purely on dialogue but Mark is most definitely not of that persuasion. Inspector Charase gave him carte blanche to, if you pardon the ‘X Factor’ style cliche, make the stage his own. There was nothing about Mark’s performance or the show itself that was subtle , so it most definitely wasn’t the time for small, apologetic gestures. Mark’s exaggerated mannerisms and treatment of the dialogue were a masterclass in character acting.
Last seen as the bold and brassy Sally in Duns Opera’s ‘Me & My Girl’, Holly Thomas once again showed that her drama degree is most definitely paying off.Her versatility knows no b o u n d s a n d Nicole was the perfect part for her. Going from doting spouse to manic loon in the flutter of an eyelash, Holly had a terrific stage presence.
Although still a young performer, Holly has the ability and confidence of a seasoned professional. Nicole was a role which relied on great timing and a Stepford wife-esque sensibility and luckily for her director and audience, Holly had both down to a tee.
And as for Euan, his turns as the smoking jacket clad Marceau, scientist twin brother Pepe and the wonderfully obnoxious Petite Pepe, showed exactly why he is held in such high regard both on home turf and abroad.
He also proved himself as a rather handy puppeteer should there be a vacancy on the Sooty Show anytime soon. With eight different characters embroiled in the plot,a lot of multi- tasking was required. Holly went from housewife to a too cool for school chauffeur in the twirl of a moustache while Mark looked equally as comfortable as mad as a box of frogs lab assistant Igor (later unearthed as a Russian spy) as he did as a one sandwich short of a picnic psychiatric nurse.
A story that involved as man being transformed into a fly requires a large degree of belief to be suspended but where’s the harm in some far fetched theatre, particularly when it was executed as well as this was.
Having also had a hand in ‘Here Come The Girls’ playing the double bass, I wouldn’t blame Mr Rooke for feeling rather smug right now as his theatre produced two entirely different but equally enjoyable shows in the space of a week. Both shows highlighted just what great talent Berwick and the surrounding area can boast and showed that sometimes the motto ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself’ can be spot on. The lines between amateur and professional have been blurred more times then Robin Thicke would care to sing about and the good news for those who didn’t see it last week is that ‘La Mouche’ is heading out to tour.