Katherine and Pierre - Edinburgh Fringe 2023
My final show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe was TalkSmall from UK with “Katherine and Pierre” a heightened drag performance with a unique spin on the classic tale of boy meets girl. TalkSmall is an emerging physical theatre company duo. Performers Ellena Begley and Bobbie Twaddle, combine elements of drag and queerness with inventive choreography. They tell stories through powerful pop icons that are relatable, comedic, and DRAMATIC darling!
“Katherine and Pierre” is fun, fun, fun. Both performers are highly skilled, and I recommend without reservation their unique brand of laughs – it was the PERFECT show to end my Edinburgh Odyssey!
So, we are in an office followed by a post work office boozy night and the love story begins. The content is occasionally edgy but always tempered with hilarity. Being sucked off in an elevator or giving birth has never looked (or felt) this good. A full range of human emotions are expressed across the story of love found, lost, and found again.
The set is simple, a bare stage and two office chairs, but the performers ingeniously transform these into various pieces of furniture, seamlessly integrating them into their dances and using them for set pieces. The bright and colourful costumes (and costume changes) reflect the camp, positive and vital energy of the show.
The two performers lip synch for their lives to an intricately curated audio mashup for the entire show. As implied by their characters’ names, it’s mostly Katy Perry, whose party, love, and heartbreak songs create the perfect soundtrack to this love story. There are clips from TV, movies, and viral videos. The precision of the lip synching along with the vibrant physicality has audiences open-mouthed in astonishment for the entire 60 minutes! I can say, I probably didn’t “get” all the pop references, but I didn’t need to to have a thoroughly enjoyable experience. There is more going on here. Enough light and shade about genuine relationships, enough variety in the physical language to engage us whether we see the work as a coming-of-age story, a tale of the roller-coaster of human relationships, seeking empowerment or just everyday life.
Ellie Begley is responsible for most of the choreography and as an acrobat and dancer they are breath-taking. Bobbie Twaddle is the stronger drag component and is amazingly deft. Both create memorable characters through acrobatics, mime, dance and acting. It all feels very original, very inclusive and made on the smell of an oily rag. The genius of this couple shines like a rare gem! Don’t leave Edinburgh without seeing this show!