nytheatre.com review by Stan Richardson
March 19, 2005
Typo is an intimate circus of two performers—Jamie Adkins (clown and acrobat) and Anne-Marie Levasseur (comedian and musician)—that leaves a number of vivid images on the mind for days afterwards.
These parenthetical job titles are from the program, however, and they are adequate, but not entirely accurate descriptions of what this pair can do. Adkins (who wrote and co-directed the show), for example, is too a musician, percussively bouncing the little rubber balls that he also juggles, balances on his nose, catches on the small of his back and handlessly guides around his body. Levasseur’s work is more athletic than it sounds—she has a lovely dance sequence (the choreographer is Cynthia Akanga) in which she occasionally spins above the ground from the base of a hanging lamp.
The premise of this nearly wordless piece is simple: the two are sitting in their rundown office—he at his typewriter, she at her piano—trying to think out some vaudeville acts. The stymied duo find inspiration not via the cerebrum, but through their preoccupied play with various unlikely objects in their workspace: wads of paper, gum, chairs, a ladder, etc. The set, lights, and music (by Guillaume Lord, Nicolas Descoteaux, and Lucie Cauchon, respectively) create a warm, wan womb of a space in which the two sometimes painfully conceive and deliver their ideas.
Adkins and Levasseur are showmen (or showmyn, or showpersons), to be sure; their presences are engaging, and I was drawn in by their every little trick. But it is their great skills and not their comic personas that make them a fun watch. Adkins has not yet found a distinct personality for his clown—he has the specifics, but no psychology, no soul. Levasseur knows her clown a bit better, but she is using too much muscle. I have no doubt that these collaborators will come into their own dramatically (by which I mean, their “characters”) the way they have theatrically (by which I mean, their “actions and activities”).
Oh, I forgot to mention (and perhaps this is to their credit) that Typo is marketed towards children. At the performance I saw the target audience certainly loved it—calling out instructions, giving guidance— but all the “participation” which I might have found either endearing or annoying, did not distract me from the ingenious spectacle on stage.