On the opening night of Riddlestick Theatre’s production of The Cabinet of Madame Fanny Du Thé, I arrived at the theatre ready to be blown away – and I was.
The show runs for an hour without an intermission. The performers had beautifully high levels of energy, which did not waver throughout the performance. The acting was superb; I have never seen a sheep summoned so convincingly to a stage. It was very funny, with the actors flawlessly transitioning between quirky fairytale-esque characters at the drop of a hat.
The musical element was wonderful, and one of my favourite things about the entire show. The actors all had beautiful voices that blended together seamlessly, and the lyrics were clever and catchy.
The minimalist stage design was implemented well and props were kept simple, with the performers using them creatively,adding humour and colour to the performance. It also reduced the risk of the audience being distracted from the skilful storytelling of the actors. The costumes were antiquated, reflecting 18th century France, perhaps. The performance was quirky and structured as a series of short stories, all connecting to an item in Madame Fanny’s cabinet. Every story was different and mythical. Whenever the cabinet was brought out again, the audience were pulled back to reality and excited to learn where they were likely to go next.
Though the characters do interact with the audience and allow them to determine which tall tale we would hear next, it should be noted that the role of the audience is limited to this. Regardless, it was fun to watch the characters fire questions at the willing volunteers as they retrieved their objects from Madame Fanny’s cabinet and laugh together at their responses.
Overall, I loved the entire journey and message of the show. Fanny’s adventures were a pleasure to experience and Riddlestick Theatre should be proud of the exceptional show they’ve pulled together.
Image credit: Riddlestick Theatre