Home / Cirque / Brighton Fringe: The Fantasist – The Warren, Brighton

Brighton Fringe: The Fantasist – The Warren, Brighton

Director: Ailin Conant

Devisers: The Cast

Reviewer: Tom Finch



The FantasistLouise is an artist. She has a rough night and unable to sleep is determined to paint. Soon the demons around her are forcing her creativity. With the help of some engaging puppetry and some wonderful physical theatre the cast of this piece take the audience on a rich and varied journey into the very heart, soul and mind of a young woman battling with bipolar disorder.

The puppetry employed is astounding. Two puppeteers manipulate grotesque severed heads, a deeply disturbing lifesize gentleman in a bluecoat and an adorable white doll among other things. The turns of each of the non human characters are uniformly superb. It is astonishing to witness an audience’s genuine delight at seeing a small puppet pick himself up and climb down a desk.

The puppets are not the only stars of the show. Julia Yevnine is mesmerising as Josie. Her transition from mania to a slow, tired wreck is as believable as it is affecting. Her adept skill at manipulating her own slender figure is used to great comic and sinister effect.

There are some wonderful touches to this show, having the characters around Louise move slowly during periods of mania and faster during her lulls. It is testament to the ability of the entire cast that the audience were completely emotionally committed for the duration.

It could have been ten minutes shorter and slightly snappier but there is very little to quibble at with this show. It is an astonishing, completely non depressing look at mental illness and the physical manifestations it can have on the human spirit. This is a must see.

Runs until 26th August 2013

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