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Friday, July 10, 2009


Beautiful threesome directed by Craig Morris done in mime style (Review by Caroline Smart)

Le Carnaval de ma Vie (My Life as a Carnival) has been one of the most rewarding and heart-warming productions I’ve seen on the festival so far. It’s a beautiful threesome presented by the Matchbox Theatre Collective and directed by Craig Morris. Performed in mime, it proves that you don’t need dialogue to get a story across!

The audience immediately absorbs the French atmosphere as they take their seats in an auditorium filled with catchy accordion music. The action starts with two women standing at a graveside on which has been placed a silver top hat. One woman goes, leaving the other to her memories.

Le Carnaval de ma Vie is a beautiful love story of a young woman (Nicola Haskins) who falls in love with a young magician (Bailey Snyman), he of the top hat who she meets on the train. He impresses her by giving her a rose and the train journey – although a bumpy one which gives rise to much hilarious movement along with to-ing and fro-ing of luggage – cements their relationship. There is good use of shadow play on a screen which also provides backdrops to indicate locations, such as the Gare du Nord.

A compelling dancer, Nicola Haskins has the most endearing luminous quality where one can read even the slightest emotion on her face as well as on her body. Bailey Snyman is an excellent foil for her, providing strong masculine tension for her slightly vague and ethereal character.

There are some superb scenes, such as their tender lovemaking, knockabout Groucho Marx lookalikes, a frenetic birthing as well the disintegration of their relationship. Their reunion is intense, made all the more edgy as they were working on a non-braked truck (platform running loosely on casters) where the wrong move or weight distribution would surely have sent them both flying.

The third member of the cast and pivotal to the production is Melissa Pierce who is a delight as the train conductor and gives a beautiful rendering of a romantic Edith Piaf song.

Le Carnaval de ma Vie runs at the National Arts Festival until July 11 in Glennie Hall. – Caroline Smart