Preview: The Vaudevillains

Naughty children take control of the cabaret . . . of death

Fringe Preview: The Vaudevillains

'We're traditionally untraditional,' explains co-founder Oliver Lansley of Les Enfants Terribles, who have been fixtures on the Fringe for 15 years. 'We rock up somewhere, a mad bunch of misfits and tell some stories.' In a year which has seen the company present an immersive version of Alice in Wonderland, these misfits are attracting national attention.

The Vaudevillains, appropriately hosted in the Assembly's Spiegeltent, is both a decadent murder mystery and a celebration of the vintage vaudeville spectacle. With characters including sexy Siamese twins and a magician named The Great Mephisto, the investigation into the killing of the Empire club's owner promises to bring more than a few dark secrets to light.

There is no typical Les Enfants production – 'every time we do something new it tends to be a bit unique, and a crazy terrifying challenge,' Lansley adds. 'The last show was an immersive Sherlock Holmes experience in Madame Tussauds, before that was an outdoor show set on a hot air balloon … and the next show is a dinner party with Roald Dahl's The Twits!' Yet The Vaudevillains conjures their belief in creating theatre that is challenging, provocative and memorable, with its bizarre cast and dynamic, spectacular theatricality.

The ambition of Les Enfants is reflected in this remounting of a show that first toured in 2010. Not only does the venue provide a cabaret atmosphere to the work, the company's distinctive visual sensibility brings to life the often ignored heritage of the freakshow.

'This time, we're making it a bit seedier and sexier,' says Lansley. And while his vision is to ensure that the audience experience 'fun and a great story, to be utterly entertained,' the unsettling tale of subversive glamour and brutality connects The Vaudevillains to the very contemporary taste for grotesque fantasy.

Assembly George Square, 6–28 Aug (not 16), 10.10pm, £14--£16 (£12.50--£14.50). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £11.

The Vaudevillains

  • 3 stars

Les Enfants Terribles To celebrate their 15th year, Olivier-nominated Les Enfants Terribles invite you to The Empire music hall for a night you'll never forget, but tonight's show will be different. The club's owner, Charlie, has fallen victim to a murder most foul… but whodunnit? Could it be nervy knife thrower Ray…


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