Alexandra Kazazou’s slim but muscular frame seems to fill the stage, such is the sheer power she exudes. She practically radiates with intensity; we as an audience are enthralled by the physical theatre and storytelling she uses in Charmolypi. The performance, created by Kazazou at The Grotowski Institute in Poland and performed internationally, consists of the performer’s personal stories told through her body. The word itself, translated from Greek, means “bittersweet” and that is exactly what this show is.

Charmolypi is beautifully acted, directed, and evokes clear images.

For the main part of the performance, Kazazou uses a mixture of spoken word and physical theatre to pull the audience into a world that at times feels like a dream. There’s a snippet of a classic jazz song and everything seems to have reached equilibrium, until this is torn away again in favour of a story that has you questioning your metaphysical state. Director Matej Matejka has styled this production into clear-cut sections; any ambiguity in the narrative appears purposeful rather than clumsy. Charmolypi is an extremely sharp production carried by a performer who looks you in the eye and speaks directly to you in clear, precise words.

The only major issue with this production is the video footage shown at the beginning of the performance. Whilst the use of multimedia is admirable in a strongly physical performance, this comes across as an advertisement for the production itself or worse, as a Eurovision-style art film summing up the matters covered. Despite this, it’s a well put together piece of film and does not detract from the performance’s overall intensity.

Charmolypi is beautifully acted, directed, and evokes clear images. It’s a fine example of the power the human body has in reflecting that which cannot be expressed in words.

Reviews by Emily Dunford

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The Blurb

‘Charmolypi evokes a metaphysical reflection, expressed through the language of the body’ (Dziennik Teatralny). Loosely translated, charmolypi means ‘joyful sorrow’. In Greece, elderly people possess this quality due to life’s experience. Charmolypi was produced and premiered at the Grotowski Institute, Wroclaw, Poland. Director Matej Matejka, performed in Edinburgh in 2006 and 2012 with Farm in the Cave and Teatr Zar winning multiple awards. Charmolypi has performed in Greece, Belgium, Russia, Turkey and USA. ‘A very high class of acting’ (Michail Pushkin, director of SOLO Festival in Moscow).