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Monday, 26 October 2009

The night I saw Change...

Change sure did happen at the Garrick this Friday evening at 7:30 exactly. Managing to transform himself by changing outfit before you could even bat an eye lid, Arturo Brachetti, really did wow the audience with his 100 changes in 100 minutes! It seemed like a thousand. Have you ever seen a man hold up a sheet, transform into the Queen of England, then hold the sheet up again, and bam!- He’s a soldier, then a priest, then Chiquita banana? I doubt you have. I have. I can tell you it is pretty impressive. Arturo Brachetti, is an Italian quick-change artist, he has been in the Guinness Book of Records 2006 and 2007, and is described as the fastest quick change artist in the world. Pretty impressive hugh? Well, he is worth seeing.

I must warn you though that Mr. Brachetti’s show requires you to totally unwind, let go, allow yourself to be charmed by his tremendously zealous stage presence, unashamedly frank slapstick humour, and theatricality. I admit, I did wince a bit at first when he came on stage, beaming from ear to ear, saying “I am Arturo Brachetti! Yes! It rhymes with Spaghetti!” Oh boy, I thought, this could be painful. It was not. I let go, and was charmed, and amazed, like a little child at the circus.

I really did not know that much about the art of transformation. The day after I saw the show I felt as if I hadn’t totally understood and appreciated the show as much as I should have. After doing my research, I think I may go again, in order to truly appreciate the many references made to Fregoli, and Fellini (I know the latter, but Fregoli?) From what I can gather, Leopoldo Fregoli was the greatest quick-change artist of his day. (His day being late 19th century to early 20th century). To be honest, it was so overwhelming to see so many changes that I think it takes the brain a few hours to digest it all. It was, now that I remember not until the next morning that I woke up and truly said, WOW! What a show I saw last night!

I read that he was described as Versace on hyper speed. That my friends is at times an understatement. The show goes from Arturo talking to his younger self in his apartment, then joining his younger self in the television, entering a parallel universe, reminiscing about old times, jumping back and forth in time, he enchants with shadow puppets making barking dogs, cats, rabbits, elephants, swans, deer, crocodiles, it is incredible! He impersonates so many characters I couldn’t dream of remembering how many there were! At one point he becomes 27 different characters, just by using a hat, he goes from Prince Charles to a Vatican Saint, all with is lone pliable chapeau. Then he goes through the Hollywood movies, and there ladies and gentleman you have to brace yourself! Arturo transforms into James Bond, Julie Andrews, King Kong, Scarlett O'Hara, in two costumes (including the famous green velvet drapery gown), Darth Vader, Gene Kelly, Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, Jaws, Esther Williams swimming in mid-air, etc. There is a sincere homage to Fellini, as Arturo portrays Fellini’s actors from the great Director’s illustrious body of work. How many costumes does he have? 350. Imagine that?!

It is not easy to transport the audience into the surreal world that Arturo conjures up through his use of comedy, music, magic, video in a unique collage of acting, story-telling, caricature, stunts ….I take my hat off to Arturo Brachetti.

Want to go see the show? Here is a link telling you where it is and selling tickets!



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