Reviews OWE & FringePerformance Published 18 January 2014

Le Foulard

Soho Theatre ⋄ 13th - 18th January 2014

Behold, the artist.

Freddie Machin

Lucy Hopkins is an artist, she tells us, and we have the rare privilege of not only hearing her philosophy but of witnessing her very presence. “You are about to receive something of a very, very high quality,” she assures us at the opening, with a dash of Hyacinth Bucket to her tone.

Whether proselytising about her work – wishing the audience “to be washed into the ocean on a tsunami of meaning” or silent in her withering looks and constant availability to the audience’s adoration, she is intensely watchable.

With the sharpest of cut glass vowels and the most gracefully executed swirls of her silk scarf our host educates us on what it is to be an artist and a creator – perhaps even the creator. She even rides the silence beautifully, commenting on the moments we share with the lightest of touches. A raised eyebrow, a single muttered word, constantly remaining live and present, teasing out our approval.

But it’s not long before the mask slips and her opposing alter egos grapple for the audience’s attention.The show unfolds as the battleground where the extremes of her psyche fight for dominance. One, paralysed with quiet excitement at the world and all that’s in it, the other like a fierce and wronged Spanish lover.

This Iberian incarnation gives us Gloria Gaynor’s karaoke classic ‘I Will Survive’ as a classical monologue. A skit which harnesses the pure power of the clown. Through parody and humour Hopkins touches at the core of what it is to be human, what it is to be at the sharp end of love.

Never far away from a song, the show is at times an alternative cabaret. One of her characters sings and translates for us ‘La Vie en Rose’ which she simply revels in doing. The image she creates is reminiscent of Pina Bausch and with her tight choreography, sleek black leotard and eccentric perspective she is not far away.

The best thing is that with all three characters Hopkins is actually laying bare something of herself – something human and extremely fragile but nevertheless full of heart.

At times the piece is a little slow but Lucy Hopkins is a master of timing and presence. To witness such simplicity and honesty  – it was indeed a rare privilege to be introduced to her – her humour, her peculiarities and most of all her vulnerabilities.



Freddie Machin

Freddie contributes regularly to the Hackney Citizen and Teaching Drama Magazine. He is also a creative practitioner, leading projects for Shakespeare's Globe, The Royal Opera House and Tender, an organisation promoting healthy relationships between young people. He is an associate artist with Fol Espoir.

Le Foulard Show Info

Written by Lucy Hopkins




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