What to Watch in Paris
Notre Dame de Paris
Responsible for returning the fashion of theatre to France in the late 90’s, this adaptaion of the Victor Hugo novel is more popularly known by the name The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The play is sufficiently darker than the Walt Disney adaptation but still bears the same moral that what is on the outside does not indicate what is within us. Following the sought after Esméralda who many educated and handsome men try to impress, she takes an unexpected liking to a disfigured man with a hunchback called Quasimodo. This poor homeless man, ridiculed by villagers and thought of as a monster becomes fascinated by the woman and does his best to get her out of the troubles that come her way, though he does not always succeed. Catch this tragic fairytale in show at Paris’ Palais des congrès.
Cyrano de Bergerac
Written entirely in verse this classic romance popularised in the early 20th Century is based around events that transpired in the 1600’s. Centered the eponymous Frenchman, this fictionalized tale is written about a real life man of the time. The story follows Cyrano, who although has many talents including dueling, poetry and music is a little sensitive about the size of his nose. In fact, his self-esteem takes such a shunt due to his exaggerated nasal equipment that doubt of his abilities to woo females begins to set in. With his aims set upon his distant cousin Roxane who exudes beauty, he keeps his feelings bottled up for fear of rejection despite his artistic abilities. Despite a series of heartbreak and tragedy that takes its toll over years, one thins Cyrano insists on keeping hold of is his panache. This somewhat humorous use of the word is actually the way that the term for stylish reckless courage made its way into the English language. English visitors looking for a truly French experience can now enjoy the play performed in the native tongue thanks to productions put on by the company Theatre In Paris who provide English captions above the stage.
Though originally an American show which kept Broadway audiences delighted for over twenty years, this musical outing which lends much of its sensibilities to the cabaret of France is now available for fans in Paris. Another theatre treat that has been converted for the big screen, this jazz laced satire of the crime of the 20’s and 30’s has made for a show that audiences just cant stop watching. With bold characters who are set on fame and fortune in the era where celebrities were the ones on stage in smoky clubs, this tale of grandeur fills the stage with the tropes of old America. With a set of art deco geometry, neon lights and the constant threat of gangster violence, Chicago has a little something for everyone. Audiences will love the risqué costumes, the tongue in cheek humour and the smooth choreography. The French production arrived in September and can be enjoyed at the Théâtre Mogador.