Julien Cottereau: Imagine Toi @ Assembly Roxy
With physical comedy genius that can only be compared to that of Roberto Benigni, Julien Cottereau creates a show based heavily on mime and, as the title implies, imagination. For instance, the audience are expected to imagine him sweeping, or tossing a squeaky ball at a giant of a dog. A talented performer – both in movement and beatboxing – he is fascinating to watch, and will cause your face to hurt from laughter.
Amid the comic moments, he sets up a situation whereby the audience becomes the accomplice in a crime. It is hard to say if it is meant to be in the subtext of the show, or if it is just meant to be extremely entertaining, yet he seems to be making a point about the complicity of audiences in theatre. While his show is predominantly family-oriented and quite safe in that sense, he is a pleasure to observe even from an adult point of view.
Unravelling his narrative without the use of words (unless you count 'ding dong'), he includes romance, fear, and invites the audience to join in the show. He builds an entire world out of his own movements, and with a very simple but extremely precise physical 'vocabulary.' It is very clear he is comfortable enough to work with a live audience, and was met with a standing ovation at the end of it.