Mouche, adapted from the Paul Gallico novella Love of Seven Dolls for the stage and performed by Tim Redpath is a classic tale beautifully told. It is running at The Kalk Bay Theatre until the end of next week.
Big Friendly and I went to see it last night. I have been wanting to see it ever since I fell in love with the poster in Grahamstown last year. I knew immediately what it was going to be about when I saw the name. Mouche is one of my favourite characters in one of my best loved books. Love of Seven Dolls made a huge impression on me as a teenager and it’s a book I have always kept and reread over and over again. Its appeal is that it is a theatrical love story set in France. Delicious, romantic, heartbreaking, powerful and magical. I always wanted to find a way of bringing the story to life on stage. Tim has done that with great success.
Tim has a simple, effective set. He plays all the characters (except for Mouche who is invisible). The puppets are endearing and simple and easy to connect with. His characters are clearly defined and well observed (particularly that of Jacques and the narcissistic acrobat) and I predictably shed a tear or two at the end. It really is a beautiful, faithful production that honours its source material and sparks with its innocent magic.
All my ‘I’d rather haves” are because I am so close to the story. I would have had the character of Capitane Coq be harder. Tim is so sweet looking it needs a radical shift for him to play the mean guy who undergoes such a transformation. I missed the stupid giant puppet Alifanfaron. However, I think this production’s least successful choice was not to have a real actor to play Mouche (and that’s NOT because I want to play the part of the barely twenty, skinny waif). The story is totally about a relationship; a relationship between Mouche and the puppets and ultimately between the man behind the puppets. I think that having a real somebody there would have made Tim’s multifaceted performance all the more potent and beautiful.
Some of the things I loved about this production were the well executed puppet shows within puppet show style flashbacks of Michel’s (Capitane Coq) hectic past. I loved Tim’s interpretation and performance of the crowd scenes. I am not going to say more about that. You have to go and see it. Hilarious.
And now we come to the nitty gritty again. Where is everybody? This is a brilliant, accessible, clever, special show. Tim is a delight to watch on stage. The appeal for a show like this should be really wide. Rise up Cape Town audiences, rise up. And get your shit together.