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Hurry -  Funeral blues


I'll be missing you

Fabien Rodrigues

“You miss only one being and everything is depopulated! », Said Lamartine in his Isolation ... This seems to apply in a way that is both intense and subtle to the characters of Funeral Blues - The missing cabaret produced by the Theaters of the City of Luxembourg and presented this week at the Grand Theater. Because in this English cabaret imbued with British spirit and phlegm, it is the suffering of the absence of others that holds the title role through the interpretations of the poet William H. Auden and his platonic lover, composer Benjamin Britten.

These three characters come to life here under the direction of the Franco-British director Olivier Fredj, in this version co-produced by the Théâtre de Caen and co-commissioned by the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord. Alternating music, poetry, song, dance and even improvised puppets, baritone Laurent Naouri and actor Richard Clothier - who play Britten and Auden respectively - try to put words, intentions, answers on questions too big for them, on the why and how of love, on survival despite absence, while their whimsical neighbor, here embodied by the pianist Cathy Krier, accompanies the action in music when it is not on stage at every opportunity, to hide her loneliness and this passionate relationship that she prefers simulated rather than destroyed. The promise can be frightening by its density, it is not - quite the contrary.

The scenes are linked without unnecessary stylistic effect. We can even regret that the eccentric young lady is in the end very little in this version, but that's without counting on the quality of play of this outdated trio ...

as during those superb scenes where the body of one disappears for the caress of the other, ephemeral spectator of what causes his absence with a loved and loving being ...

The setting for its part plays its role of showcasing just what is needed, offering on the one hand visual supports relevant to the story of Auden and Britten, the initial scene of the shower infusing, for example, a homoerotic atmosphere hardly ambiguous, and a merry mess crying of truth in the apartment of the pianist.


The Studio du Grand Théâtre was sold out on Thursday evening for a world creation by Olivier Fredj, “Funeral Blues - The missing Cabaret”. A vibrant tribute to poet Wystan Hugh Auden and composer Benjamin Britten, this English-language show also gave a nod to the famous American burlesque artist, Gypsy Rose Lee. The performers of this very special cabaret, the British actor, Richard Clothier, the French baritone Laurent Naouri and the Luxembourg pianist Cathy Krier, gave their best on stage and achieved such a memorable performance. that touching.

The director Olivier Fredj has succeeded in weaving an original dramatic framework linking the different parts of the show. So he consciously chose to respect Auden's exceptional work, as well as Britten's music.

The seriousness and talent with which the performers approached their role allowed the audience to immerse themselves from the start in a universe which, if at first seemed colorful, zany and superficial, gradually gave way to a questioning and a range of deeply human feelings.

Laurent Naouri shone in the very physical role of composer Britten, joyfully deploying his combined talents as a comedic dancer, actor and versatile singer, moving from an operatic style to a downright popular character, or even jazz.

As might be expected, the most striking character of "Funeral Blues - The missing Cabaret" is that of Wystan Hugh Auden, a genius poet who constantly questions himself and who, while observing the world with little complacency. who surrounds him, manages to express his emotions and his despair with an extraordinary sensitivity, leaving however, at times, a glimpse of a piercing irony. Richard Clothier brought these lines to life in a masterly fashion, serving them with incredible variations in intensity and rhythm, infusing them with a rare emotional sincerity.


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