Review: Souvenir

The New Theatre

Inspired by À La Recherche du Temps Perdu, Marcel Proust’s magnum opus on memory, society and sexuality, while nodding at everyone from Shakespeare to Walter Benjamin to Charlie Kaufman, this solo performance by Bush Moukarzel is so cluttered with ideas, arch humour and erudition, it seems almost impossible to contain. Props erupt from innumerable, wittily labelled boxes (“Madeleines” “Health” “Theatre, The”), a black board issues one fretting command (“Make The Show”) and when the compelling Moukarzel opens Proust’s book, its pages flake away like a drift of snow.
Pursuing a restless, giddying technique not dissimilar to Pan Pan’s, director Ben Kidd ruptures stage conventions, appropriately mingles biography and fiction and never resists a metatheatrical gag. It’s fun, if sometimes fatiguing, yet Moukarzel retains a narrative through line from Proust with plenty of artfully lifted text. Long after the short performance finished, its meanings were still unfurling, the substance behind its comedy gradually revealed. He certainly gives you something to remember him by. Proust would approve.

Until Saturday
Peter Crawley

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