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Culture Theatre

Review: (Le) Pain

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This show surpassed all my expectations, and I left feeling hopeful and curiously free. Jean Daniel Broussé (JD) was the sole member of the cast, and he created an experience that was witty, reflective and vulnerable. The show will captivate you from beginning to end, and I couldn’t recommend it more.

JD’s father runs a bakery that has been in the family for three generations, and his family wishes to see it run to four. JD has other ideas. This ultimately causes the bakery to close. The show captures the emotional turmoil JD experienced growing up with this responsibility and how it felt to disappoint his family and follow his dreams.

JD bakes bread on stage. Whilst we wait for the bread to cook, he performs various short performance pieces which are smoothly unified into one enveloping experience. Some examples of what to expect include a stunning experimental dance piece embodying the chemical changes of gluten; a short sketch about a disastrous gluten-free diagnosis; and a traditional bagpipe piece from Aveyron (where JD grew up). The show is interspersed with video clips of interviews with his family. These are often set in the bakery, with JD looking sheepish in the background. His father says that endings are never good. JD disagrees. He believes that an ending gives you the possibility of a new beginning. And beginnings are wonderful.

JD offers the audience the capacity to break free from a life of confinement. The show is invigorating-he encourages the audience to participate in a liberating song and connects the audience to one another through the sharing of bread. JD is very comedic, and his show is full of funny quips about the patriarchy and the difficulty of being different. He is an incredibly moving dancer and a very captivating performer. His own refusal to play the part expected of him and his determination to follow his dreams infuses the audience with possibility and hope. Ultimately, he passes on the courage to do what your heart tells you.

JD shows that we all have the power to sink and rise again, just like he did. The show is intimate and transformative; it encourages audience-performer discourse and poignant self-reflection.

The show ran on Friday 4 February 8pm at The Studio, Festival Theatre, 22 Potterrow, Edinburgh, EH8 9BL

Puppet Animation Scotland announces MANIPULATE Festival 2022, with image of (Le) Pain by Jean Daniel Broussé (JD) Courtesy of MANIPULATE