Russian Company Derevo’s
The show’s effectiveness depends on whether you can stomach its deliberate unruliness
There is a plot, of sorts, which occasionally bubbles into striking lucidity amongst all the chaos. This involves company founder Anton Adasinsky’s lowly, street-sweeping clown, a sort of predecessor to Chaplin’s tramp, and his desperately adoration of a melancholic Pierette-waitress (Elena Yaravoya). He is competes for her affections with a sinister Svengali figure in a tailcoat. More than anything, however, the show aims to capture a mood- of the turbulence and baffling, uninterpretable nature of intense love, of its failure to yield into a coherent identity, place or time.
While there is no doubting the quality of the performances - Adasinsky is a world renowned clown and the expressive depth of the strangely ageless Yaravoya’s face is breathtaking - the show’s effectiveness depends on whether you can stomach its deliberate unruliness, the rush of images which rarely settle down or explain themselves. The manic eclecticism is visible within the design influences that are legible in the show: surrealist art, silent cinema and even modern science fiction all compete amongst each other, and this zaniness may prove too much for some.
The chaotic sensibility also acts, frustratingly, to puncture some charming moments of poised tranquility in which the physical skill of the performers finds its richest expression. The clown’s bashful, stuttering advances towards his lover, Yaravoya’s intense eyes gazing wistfully at us, or what looked like the beginnings of a silent dance lesson are all interrupted and swallowed up by noise and confusion. More of these simpler, tender moments would have made this already interesting show soar.