Writer: Nicola McCartney
Music: Hector Bizerk
Choreographer: Janice Parker
Director: Garry Robson
Reviewer: Rachael Hickman
Envisage the Moulin Rouge, the seductive house of cabaret, but in Glasgow. Monsieur et Madames welcome to the Tron Theatre, a marvellous dance-theatre event brought to you by Birds of Paradise, it’s the world premiere of Crazy Jane. A seedy and Scottish twist on the life of Jane Avril, the iconic french star, known as Toulouse Lautrec’s muse.
This is the life of Crazy Jane from Salpêtrière asylum to the Moulin Rouge and the blurred line between. She keeps running the streets of Paris, trying to avert the locals’ gaze, but she cannot escape her life of abuse, poverty, prostitution and mental illness.
This is a story of finding yourself, and art’s ability to express something we cannot. There is a similarity here between theatre and asylum; are we all crazy and open for interpretation? Rachel Drazek is Young Jane and Pauline Knowles plays Jane Avril, but it is George Drennan, in his many parts, who is the Ringmaster of the show. Janice Parker’s choreography is effective but did not fulfil expectations. There is not enough ballet, no Can-Can, only “The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry”, the title of the original soundtrack by local band Hector Bizerk. The rapping has both historic and modern elements which fit perfectly, narrating and amplifying the story.
The cast have strong Scottish accents, creating a comical and gritty production that stays classy throughout. A simple and elegant set design by Jessica Brettle, with projected images takes us through the streets of Paris and the lives of Jane and Lautrec. Both provocative and decadent, the Post Impressionist era of 19th century Paris is captured well. Director Garry Robson, is respected as an innovator in Disability Art, deaf actress Caroline Parker signs the show, although the subtitles do allow you to notice the missed lines. This is a spectacle brought to life by the design and soundtrack; a unique and imaginative experience. Encore une fois s’il vous plaît.
Runs until 30 May, then touring Scotland
Image Credit: Eoin Carey