Ah, Paris! The city of love! The city of adventures! The city of over-sized giant intelligent rats and moonstruck travelers! This imaginative world is closer than you think. In fact, The Rosy Cheeks Co-op are currently performing Pierrot & The Moon at the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Pierrot & the Moon tells the story of a innocent Italian traveler who must wander the streets of Paris at night. He makes friends with a rat, is chased by a policeman, and begins to “moon” over the woman he meets (and perhaps simply the beauty of the moon itself).
This production features modernized versions of the stock characters from Commedia dell’ Arte. For that reason, all of the characters act in the exaggerated, clownish manner that is expected from this famous form of Italian theatre. This is your opportunity to see a form of theatre that is not often found on Canadian stages.
I thought that the combination of various styles of performance art enhanced the show. The masks, shadow puppetry, and dancing are elements that match this old theatre form that utilizes representation. It also allows the audience to sample many art forms, which some people may not be familiar with.
I enjoyed the combined incorporation and interaction between the live actors and the puppets. It was amusing to watch the rat puppet scurry and attack the live actors. It was also a strong choice to use the shadow puppetry to represent chase scenes, rather than attempting to produce that routine with live actors.
However, the biggest problem distraction arose with the introduction of the moon as a physical element. I found the lack of involvement between Pierrot, the puppeteer, and the moon distracting. Without full interaction, the moon merely resembled a floating set piece, rather than an interactive symbol of inspiration. It was distracting to watch the actor simply carry the moon across the stage.
This family oriented production does not encourage much effort from the audience, because the script’s content is not mentally demanding. However,this matches the performance style of Commedia dell’ Arte. Each character is innocent, simple, clownish, and a pleasure to watch.
For example, many audience members chuckled as they watched the foolish policeman repeatedly drop his baton and become outwitted by the simplistic tricks of Pierrot. The actors maintained this simplistic innocence throughout the show, which allowed you to easily relax into this world of imagination.
Overall, Pierrot & The Moon is a modernized version of Commedia dell’ Arte that is very well staged. If you would like to experience a playfully comical production that is appropriate for all ages, then this is the show for you.
- Showtimes are: July 06, Friday,7 PM; July 07, Saturday, 11 PM; July 09, Monday, 1 PM; July 10 Tuesday, 10:30 PM; July 12, Thursday, 4:15 PM; July 13 Friday, 9:15 PM; July 14, Saturday, Noon
- All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are also available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, or in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge)
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows