Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
Thurs 12-Sat 14 July
Paris in the 1650s. Impotence is illegal, and anyone one who gets the flop will more than likely get the chop. To their head, that is. But what happens when the handsome Marquis De Langley, with straight teeth and a perfect complexion, is accused of being less than, well the sum of his supposed parts? Well, among other things, he faces becoming a monumental public flop. Wales’ pioneering Hijinx Theatre will launch The Flop this July, full of playful and slightly rude humour, prior to taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe Run this August.
With a previous Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit, Meet Fred, Hijinx team up with clown supremos Spymonkey in an historical romp through an incredible true story of impotency trials in 17th century France. Embracing the ancient art of clowning, slapstick and breaking a farcical fourth wall, The Flop blends Hijinx’s trademark playful humour with Spymonkey’s anarchic physicality.
But how true is it? René de Cordouan was a fairly lucky man, born into the French nobility as the Marquis de Langey. Little is actually known about him, however: what he liked to do on Tuesdays, who his favourite composer was, what his signature dish was – all minutiae lost to history. Yet what we do know is that Marquis de Langey was subject to the most thorough, and quite embarrassing feat of history – having to prove his conjugal duty to a team of 100 ‘experts’. And so, it seems that The Flop is an accurate insight into what must have been a truly terrifying prospect for manhood across France.
Hijinx Theatre company is different: with a cast featuring three learning disabled actors and three non-disabled actors, it’s one of Britain’s leading inclusive theatre companies. The ability to effortlessly perform and ignite raucous laughter is what makes Hijinx’s productions some of the best in Wales, if not Britain. Directed by Ben Pettitt-Wade, The Flop looks set to become another favourite, with a BSL and audio-description performance scheduled for Fri 13. JOEL DAY
Tickets: £10-£12. Info: 029 2030 4400 / www.chapter.org