Folie à Deux

Folie à Deux

by Ruth Thomson

Folie à Deux are the winning combination of Charlotte Gittins and Andrew Hunter Murray from the acclaimed group Austentatious who improvise an entire show in the style of Jane Austen based on a single word from the audience. In this context, hastily created to fill a vacant fringe slot caused by a cancellation (their Twitter account is barely 10 days old and you won’t find much of a presence online, though you will find an interesting Wikipedia article about the psychiatric syndrome of shared psychosis), Charlotte and Andrew use the same format. And so today in a stiflingly hot portacabin called Pleasance Courtyard, we were treated to an hour’s entertainment that springs forth from the word cheese.

Aside from two solo creations – a misguided young man who thinks his girlfriend’s going to propose and an Australian dancer who fractures her legs in 9 places in a parachute jump but bravely attempts ‘Avant-Garde Swantasm’ nonetheless – three pairings emerge: a Russian mobster named Pigeon and his quivering restaurant cleaner Hilaria who insists it’s an honour to clean the remains of their clientele, two repressed teachers (Mr Spencer and Miss Swinton) gazing out resentfully as their charges play in the playground and letting their imaginations run wild to the heady days of their youths (My Little Ponies feature prominently), and best of all spiffy English cheese maker Charles and Gallic temptress Valerie who causes his undoing and provokes the passionate outburst ‘Brie’s not a game, Brie’s a calling’.

There’s a definite witty Oxbridge feel to Folie à Deux; the warmth of their chemistry and interaction as well as their flair for melodrama and faux sexual tension make for a fun show, and I hope they venture forth from the pages of the 19th century novel together again soon.


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