The stage resembles Leonardo Da Vinci’s workshop, with an assembly of pipes, gears, clocks, tubes and cluttered desks filling the space in what appears to be a chaotic and haphazard fashion.
Then, the nine ‘rude mechanicals’ of Brocante Sonore emerge, clad in blue overalls, and take positions amongst the clutter. And then? Well, then an hour of complete magic happens, as the talented French troupe use everything they can get their hands on to create music and percussion, filling the auditorium with sounds and melodies that you wouldn’t normally think pots, pans, saws and drills were capable of producing.
There is a rough plot holding things together, as the mechanicians struggle to repair a broken clock at the back of the stage. In the course of doing so, they work and play, such as in a highlight routine of a game of musical chairs, where each successive loser takes his seat and transforms it into a wind or percussive instrument. By the end of their game, their is a small orchestra of chairs being played before you and the effect is both humourous and musically excellent.
The visual style is first class, with the steampunk mood and eccentric nature of the performers shining through to create something quite unique. As the finale is reached in a crescendo of noise, sparks and explosions, you realise the mechanicians have not only repaired their clock, but also managed to make their hour long set speed by in what seemed like 5 minutes.
Brocante Sonore: The Mechanicals runs until 31st August at C. £11.50 (£10.50 concession)