La Causeuse must be a pain to market. The publicity images mostly consist of stills of a large plush armchair, the onstage events are, on paper, so simple as to be almost non-existent and the less the audience know about the content the better. Nevertheless this is a stunning piece of visual theatre, anchored by the aforementioned armchair and a virtuosic solo performance from Olivia Lathuillière.
The show is wordless and takes the form of a series of interconnected vignettes exploring various aspects of romance. The chair becomes a formidable theatrical presence; sometimes threatening, sometimes seductive. Used in combination with her own physicality and the most minimal visual cues, Lathuille creates characters and worlds that portray the intensity and sting of love, lust and co-dependency, building to a finale with shades of body-horror.
Lathuillière’s performance combines dance, clowning, mime and object manipulation with seemingly effortless control and a winningly deadpan manner. The design and lighting of the show is as spare and precise as the onstage action and facilitates a few genuinely unexpected sleight-of-hand moments. This is a classy and minimalist take on a well-worn subject with a refined and mature theatrical aesthetic.