Chiffonnade (3 stars)

This article is from 2016


credit: Christophe Deschanel

A colourful ode to sensory pleasure for very young children

This colourful ode to the pleasure of texture is aimed at very young children, and is beautiful in its simplicity.

When we enter the theatre, performer Suzel Barbaroux is stuck inside a giant patchwork cloth ball, a sort of Cinderella inside her own pumpkin. She begins by exploring the limits of the ball, receding inside it, sticking her feet out to create a walking globe, and pottering across the stage, or rolling across it.

She injects personality into her cosy little nest as she makes the ball sneeze and tumble. A score of sneaky woodwind sounds and mysterious plucked strings is a great sensory companion to this.

Before long Barbaroux hatches and finds inside her ball a treasure trove of gem-coloured silk scarves. Laying them across the stage, each becomes an island triggering a different dance move when she stands on it. She uses them to create her own beach, strips to her bikini and sunbathes, then floods the stage with water to play with as if she is discovering its extraordinary texture for the first time.

Director, Michèle Dhallu has said the piece was inspired by becoming a mother, and as an adult watching the show, part of the joy is certainly seeing the rapt faces of the toddlers as they follow Barbaroux on her journey.

Institut français d'Ecosse, until 28 Aug (not 15, 22), times vary, £8 (£6).


  • 3 stars

Carré Blanc Cie Chiffonnade is a choreographic creation rich in raw material which can be felt, touched, rustled, pleated, torn, that can be worn or used to disguise, and transform our appearances in the eyes of others. Cocooned within a sphere, a character and a multitude of fabrics become partners in a dance evoking…