Review: Mr Carmen at Assembly Roxy

And here’s me thinking all the Russians were good for were those dinky dolls that fitted into each other.

Well, don’t I feel stupid! Mr. Carmen is, by all accounts, one of the best piece of theatre I’ve seen in a while and is hands down, the biggest highlight of my trip to Edinburgh last weekend. Produced by the interestingly named Russian Engineering Theatre – AKHE; Mr. Carmen is a performance piece of theatre inspired by Mérimée’s novella which tells the tale of José whose ferocious love for a woman called Carmen forces him to commit terrible crimes, even murdering the woman he loves.

In this Russian piece, which comes in the format of a duel, the hero meets its alter ego and changes the text to replace Carmen’s name with José, thus rewriting Mérimée’s text. Each character uses a series of props and tricks to inscribe the names of José and Carmen across the stage. A line moving around the stage moves to a breath-taking, clockwork rhythm, and the characters both tell a dark, mysterious story of fatal love.

It’s not that I have an entire understanding of what when on during this hour-long show (I haven’t actually read Mérimée’s Carmen), what really impressed me were the boundaries that this company were able to push with this impressive piece.

If you’re in Edinburgh, this is the one piece of theatre I would say don’t miss. It plays until August 27 at 6pm each day – more info here

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