Camille Claudel @ The Pleasance Courtyard
This is a play about love, genius, abandonment and madness, the bittersweet but ultimately tragic story of Rodin's model and mistress, a sculptor in her own right, told from the perspective of her incarceration in a mental asylum. It is the world premiere of the first full-length play written and performed by Gaël Le Cornec and heralds the approach of a stunning new writer and talented actor.
Reminiscences of her seduction by Rodin and dancing with artists and musicians, such as Monet and Debussy segue in and out of her sad present. The mercurial changes of Camille's moods are brilliantly portrayed by Gaël who, entertaining imaginary characters, is flirtatious and funny, dancing cabaret style, revealing red frilly knickers under her long white dress.
Whether Camille really was a 'hysteric,' Gaël leaves subtly ambiguous. Torn in half, still in love with Rodin although abandoned by him, suspecting he is her enemy and has appropriated her work as his own, Camille's other main obsession is her belief in herself as an artist. A small cavil in that the play becomes diffuse and rambling and narrowly misses being a 5 star show, but overall, a tour de force.