Laughter at the Lapin


Picasso at the Lapin Agile
By Steve Martin
Directed by Neil Armfield
Return Season Director Andrew Tighe
Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney
Reviewed by Allen Myers

Picasso at the Lapin Agile is set in a Paris cafe in 1904 — or possibly 1903: the characters are a bit uncertain about this.

Here in the course of an evening, Picasso (who really frequented the Lapin Agile) meets Albert Einstein (who probably didn't), Elvis Presley (who definitely didn't) and a collection of equally intriguing and amusing characters.

The themes are space, time, memory, anticipation, perception, youth, age, achievements real and imagined and of course love and sex. If that sounds at all serious, it's not; this is pure witty dialogue and a good night's fun.

The performances are all spot on. This makes it a bit unjust to single anyone out, but perhaps Jane Borghesi deserves special mention for handling three separate characters without a hitch. Paul Blackwell is memorable as the buffoon Charles Dabernow Schmendiman, whose pretensions are as long as his name, and David Field gives the title character just the right hints of doubt at the appropriateness of his own arrogance.

Also deserving congratulations is designer Stephen Curtis, who has made brilliant use of the Belvoir's irregularly shaped stage to create a set that appears to illustrate the general theory of relativity.

You're not likely to find a more enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half — at least not in a theatre. Picasso is not to be missed.

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