In the Avignon Theatre Festival Off’s Théâtre des Doms Alula Theatre Company is spinning an enchanting, heartbreaking, spellbinding work of utter delight and passion. Bon Débarras is advertised as “a show for all 8 years and up” and for all here means for all. Taking place in a hidden room under the stairs, three puppeteers offer a century of childhoods. Over generations they show scenes of tenderness, terror, wonder, humor, and sadness. It is a work which has impossibly grounded insights into childhood. The respect that these artists have for their audience of any age is unparalleled.
Cheers to all involved. Sandrine Bastin’s concept is surprisingly spry and, despite its breadth, submits something astoundingly profound. Muriel Clairembourg’s mise en scène is beautifully inventive but never distracting. Her care is first and foremost character, and clarity. Scénographie by Sarah de Battice has surprises around every corner. I hope it travels well. Jean-Christophe Lefèvre and Annick Walachniewicz’s puppets, on first glance, don’t entice. Their wide eye stares are actually quite disconcerting. Though, put in the hands of the talented puppeteers and placed under Dimitri Joukovsky’s sepia and nostalgia rich lighting, they come to intimate life. Their characters have the nobility of innocence and the imperfections of immaturity. During the Avignon Festival I've been introduced to a new phrase: Coup de Coeur. I have no doubt that my feelings towards this piece earn such a distinction.