Created by: Jonathan Capdeville
Reviewer: Bryan Hogan
Jonathan Cappivedille walks onto the stage in jeans, boots, and a grey hoody He has a can of pepsi in one hand and a microphone in the other. He begins a medley of Madonna songs, in which he not only imitates her intonations but also the riffs and the vocoder or auto-tune robotic sounds so present in current popular music. The few Madonna fans found his imitations amusing but there is a sense he is trapped. The repetition in the first sequence starts to become exhaustive until the medley breaks into French songs, which translated with surtititles, reveal a sordid tale. There is a confrontation style at the start that never actually confronts but keeps the audience in a state of unease. However, once the second sequence begins Capdeville disappears into the characters and we rarely get to see him fully again even in the curtain call.
Capdeville has an interesting, acrobatic voice, which at times reveals a beautifully textured countertenor tone. One could perhaps see the songs are escapism from the turbulence of adolescence. A telephone conversation you assume is recorded is actually performed by Capperdeville, as he gets into drag. This sets the scene for this Ping-Pong game of voices that puncture the darkness as you try to distinguish who is talking. Sitting with his back to you he recreates a scene with his dying sister, which is visceral and poignant.
Once the second sequence begins you can feel the audience’s relief that something is happening. The staging of the second half is exciting and the lighting by Patrick Riou really gives life to the characters as they struggle in the shadows with violence and other dilemmas. The third sequence with the 5 piece male choir on stage created a beautiful sound but the ending comes abruptly leaving it unresolved.
Capdeville is an intriguing artist but ultimately this self-portrait felt lost in the space upstairs at The Project Arts. In bearing his soul one felt a resistance from Capdevielle that made you as a spectator uneasy as you pieced together the fantasy and reality of his shifting identity.
Photo courtesy of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Runs until October 4th.