Review by Sherryn Danaher
p.35 online here
French interprète polyvalent or versatile performer Pauline Calme engages the audience at the Butterfly Club in her self-directed, one-woman show Unleash the Beast. Calme by name but this high energy, comedic improv performance is the exact opposite with demanding lots of space for movement on and off-stage.
In opening, she sets the scene and tries to soothe our comfort invitingt us to go on the ride with her saying ‘it’s only one hour in our lives’. This is risky theatre and Pauline is not afraid to expose her vulnerability. She openly admits that not everything works, however, she keeps trying and she succeeds in taking the audience with her.
We’re treated to Pauline’s expertise as a practitioner and teacher of the improve method. This show may appear on the surface to be free, but through her creation, drawn entirely on her mood and that of the audience and auditorium, we’re transported to another level of performance.
Pauline likes to meet audience members in the bar just before the show, seeking out anyone interested in participation. She is not about putting her audience ill at ease. On the night, she had two willing participants apparently experienced in performance who paired with her as they slid into a James Bond inspired routine on stage. The interplay was magic. Through encouraging audience members to speak out their names, she also developed an inspired act of syncopation.
This is an extremely physical performance with Pauline’s professionalism propelling the momentum through her facial, bodily and vocal tools.
English is not Pauline’s native tongue but, while she has two French spoken shows in her five performance season, this form of entertainment is cross-cultural.