Julien Cottereau - Imagine-toi (4 stars)

This article is from 2010.

Julien Cottereau - Imagine-toi

Former Cirque du Soleil performer conjures a spectacle from nothing

The power of Julien Cottereau’s imagination knows no bounds. He has only to imagine a ball to make it as tangible for the audience as for himself. When he imagines an adorable suffering puppy, no one has the heart to put it out of its imaginary misery. From the moment he imagines that an audience member is actually a monstrous ogre, that person’s footsteps shake Princes Street Gardens to their very foundations.

That it’s all done with mime and mouth noises makes the experience more, not less, magical. Cottereau’s library of mouth-and-microphone sound effects is truly encyclopaedic. Some embarrassment is unavoidable for those he volunteers to join him on stage, but it’s amply balanced in most cases by the fantastical soundtrack he provides for them.

While the action consists largely of family-friendly silliness, it isn’t all just make-believe for its own sake. Right from the start Cottereau conjures a cruelly authoritarian but currently slumbering monster in the next room, deftly adding an undertone of rebellion – of imagination as refuge from oppression – to this daft yet moving spectacle.

Assembly @ Princes Street Gardens, 623 3030, until 29 Aug (not 16, 23), 4.15pm, £13–£14 (£12–£13).

Julien Cottereau: Imagine-Toi

  • 4 stars

World class family entertainment. Julien Cottereau is a virtuoso clown and mime artist who has been likened to Harpo Marx, Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Julien Cottereau, formerly of Cirque du Soleil, has created a show for audiences of all ages. 'Imagine-Toi', draws us into a universe populated with incongruous and…


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