Aurelia's Oratorio at the Seattle Rep

Published on: December 30, 2013

Cigarette-smoking baby dolls. Slapstick tango. A woman whose leg unravels like a wool sweater. And red velvet curtains that buck and roll like waves in a storm.

I'm trying to describe Aurélia’s Oratorio without giving too much away here, because one of the show's chief pleasures lies in its visual surprise. My strongest impulse is to say "Great stuff! Yay! Must attend!" -- which is true, although you probably want more than that.

The show, onstage at the Seattle Rep through Sunday, is performed by Aurélia Thierrée, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin and a compelling stage presence in her own right. It's a mix of surrealist imagery, acrobatics and contortions, multi-layered visual puns, and uber-cool illusions. It's all kinds of interesting and funny, and breathtakingly beautiful in places.

It's recommended for kids 10 and up, and I kind of see why. The ideas presented are sophisticated, and the show's pace is leisurely. There are cigarettes, and male-female tension, and a puppet suicide. However. I'd take a younger elementary-age child to see this. The show is only an hour and a bit, with no intermission, and the visuals are so arresting that any child old enough to sit through the show without wiggling would be drawn in right away.

Two thumbs, as they say, up.

(There's a Mother's Day brunch at the Rep this weekend before the 2 p.m. show on Sunday. Crêpes, bubbly...nice! You can get your tix to the Mother's Dejeuner online.)

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