Binôme – Souris Chaos
Frenetic French obesity farce staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
The ‘chaos mouse’ of the title is one that’s been genetically modified so that certain brain receptors controlling appetite and pleasure are never satisfied – part of a scientific experiment looking at the causes of human obesity. It’s quite a leap from there to three slightly deranged TV chefs cooking the perfect béchamel sauce and talking about a several-thousand-calorie hamburger lasagna.
French theatre company Les Sens Des Mots has created over 20 ‘binôme’ plays (this is number 18), bringing together writers and scientists for a 50-minute meeting, then challenging the writer to construct a 30-minute play for three actors based on the conversation. And awareness of the method seems as important as the play itself – it’s relayed in a pre-performance video, as are the scientist’s reactions to the final work.
In this case, playwright Frédéric Sonntag has created a manic, absurdist fantasy on never-quenched desire, following a meeting with obesity specialist Daniela Cota. It’s delivered with frenetic energy and fixed grins by the engaging trio of actors, but the importance attached to the process can’t help but make the play itself seem rather too slight to succeed in its own terms.
Institut français, 225 5366, until 17 Aug, 4.40pm, £7 (£5).