You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Aurelia’s Oratorio

Moments of whimsy and wonder highlight "Aurelia's Oratorio," a cleverly crafted production starring Aurelia Thierree, a performer of grace and playfulness who is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin.

Cast:
With: Aurelia Thierree, Julio Monge.

Moments of whimsy and wonder highlight “Aurelia’s Oratorio,” a cleverly crafted production starring Aurelia Thierree, a performer of grace and playfulness who is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin. Created and directed by the star’s mother, the show is made up of a series of brief episodes that evoke the traditions of theater, mime, magic, dance, vaudeville and circus.

The imaginative, nonverbal vignettes and show’s short length should prove popular with American auds as it continues its brief U.S. tour, though marketing may prove tricky for what-is-it-exactly literalists. (Dates are set at Dartmouth College, June 22-25, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, June 26-July 1.)

It may be unfair to evoke their famous heritage, but there must be something in the Chaplin family DNA that gives the show’s creator and star the ability to charm and startle with such beguiling ease. Thierree had the aud at bonjour.

The intimate show’s sophistication and occasional darkness — a (fake) baby smoking, a puppet suicide, several lost limbs — give the perf its European distinction that helps in avoiding preciousness but may also be off-putting to some. Yet it is also a show of wit and beauty, with haunting stage images — recommended for auds aged 10 and older.

Narrative-skimpy piece begins with the lithe and wide-eyed beauty emerging, one appendage at a time, from the drawers of a large wooden bureau. Once outfitted and free, Aurelia fabricates an escape up the red velvet proscenium drapes and tasseled ropes. It also offers an opportunity for Thierree to display a soupcon of Cirque gymnastic and aerial skills.

She is soon joined by dancer Julio Monge, a fitting and energetic partner in this flight into a surreal theatrical world both upside-down and inside-out. Monge’s fierce running battle with a vicious overcoat is a standout.

Sometimes the skits are simply one-note sight gags: Aurelia blithely coming out onstage holding a still fan as her head flaps about it to create a breeze. A grounded kite that flies a stringed Aurelia in the wind. A shadow figure walking upright while its real-person counterpart follows step by step on the ground.

Other times the imagery has a disturbing, dreamlike beauty: a puppet show run amok, a bustier that devours its wearer, the discovery of a hole in a torso through which a toy train can run.

Frequently, however, the show seems too much a trifle with sketches that lack focus, force and follow-through. Skits have a stop-start quality and miss the connective tissue that could allow the pieces to add up to a more potent whole.

Music and sound accompaniment are refreshingly offbeat. Thomas Dobruszkes’ lights are expert, setting an alternating mysterious and upbeat mood and providing cover for some of the quick-change transformations.

Aurelia's Oratorio

New Theater, New Haven, Conn.; 204 seats; $25 top

Production: An Intl. Festival of Arts & Ideas presentation of a work in one act, created and directed by Victoria Thierree Chaplin.

Creative: Set, Chaplin; costumes, Chaplin, Jacques Perdiguez, Veronique Grand, Monika Schwarzl; lighting, Thomas Dobruszkes, Oliver Brochart; sound, Chaplin, Paolo Barcucchi, Nasser Hammadi; production stage manager, Gerd Walter. Opened, reviewed June 13, 2007. Runs through June 16. Running time: 1 HOUR, 10 MIN.

Cast: With: Aurelia Thierree, Julio Monge.

More Legit

  • D.C. Pre-Broadway Review: 'Mean Girls'

    D.C. Pre-Broadway Review: 'Mean Girls'

    Moments of whimsy and wonder highlight “Aurelia’s Oratorio,” a cleverly crafted production starring Aurelia Thierree, a performer of grace and playfulness who is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin. Created and directed by the star’s mother, the show is made up of a series of brief episodes that evoke the traditions of theater, mime, magic, dance, […]

  • School Girls, or the African Mean

    Off Broadway Review: 'School Girls, or the African Mean Girls Play'

    Moments of whimsy and wonder highlight “Aurelia’s Oratorio,” a cleverly crafted production starring Aurelia Thierree, a performer of grace and playfulness who is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin. Created and directed by the star’s mother, the show is made up of a series of brief episodes that evoke the traditions of theater, mime, magic, dance, […]

  • Escape to Margaritaville review

    Pre-Broadway Review: Jimmy Buffett Musical 'Escape to Margaritaville'

    Moments of whimsy and wonder highlight “Aurelia’s Oratorio,” a cleverly crafted production starring Aurelia Thierree, a performer of grace and playfulness who is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin. Created and directed by the star’s mother, the show is made up of a series of brief episodes that evoke the traditions of theater, mime, magic, dance, […]

  • Kevin Spacey Sexual Assault

    Old Vic Theater Logs 20 Complaints About Kevin Spacey, Pledges to Improve Accountability

    Moments of whimsy and wonder highlight “Aurelia’s Oratorio,” a cleverly crafted production starring Aurelia Thierree, a performer of grace and playfulness who is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin. Created and directed by the star’s mother, the show is made up of a series of brief episodes that evoke the traditions of theater, mime, magic, dance, […]

  • The Drama League Expands DirectorFest to

    The Drama League Expands DirectorFest

    Moments of whimsy and wonder highlight “Aurelia’s Oratorio,” a cleverly crafted production starring Aurelia Thierree, a performer of grace and playfulness who is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin. Created and directed by the star’s mother, the show is made up of a series of brief episodes that evoke the traditions of theater, mime, magic, dance, […]

  • The Play That Goes Wrong

    'Come From Away,' 'Falsettos,' 'The Play That Goes Wrong' Join Ahmanson's Upcoming Season

    Moments of whimsy and wonder highlight “Aurelia’s Oratorio,” a cleverly crafted production starring Aurelia Thierree, a performer of grace and playfulness who is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin. Created and directed by the star’s mother, the show is made up of a series of brief episodes that evoke the traditions of theater, mime, magic, dance, […]

  • Broadway sales Hello Dolly Anastasia Come

    'Come From Away,' Hit Broadway Musical, Being Made Into Feature Film

    Moments of whimsy and wonder highlight “Aurelia’s Oratorio,” a cleverly crafted production starring Aurelia Thierree, a performer of grace and playfulness who is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin. Created and directed by the star’s mother, the show is made up of a series of brief episodes that evoke the traditions of theater, mime, magic, dance, […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content