Review / La Fille a la Mode

When I first saw La Fille a la Mode pop up on the events calendar for Winchester Fashion Week I was immediately up for it… and all I’d seen was the title and the advertising picture! La Fille a la Mode has such a fashionable ring; I just had to find out more. Coupled with the haunting and beautiful tableau of the performers draped upside down on a stairwell and the quirky addition of an accordion and I was in styling heaven. French glamour, devastating beauty, curiosity shop charm and a bit of the old wink wink! nudge nudge! playful sensuality would sum up this production perfectly. Perfect for this WFW wouldn’t you say?

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The evening starts by being led mysteriously around the back of the theatre to the car park where a strikingly beautiful, turn of the century looking accordionist plays and sings for us, quoting the fashion icon, Coco Chanel “A girl should be two things: Classy and Fabulous”.  She leads us towards the stage door, past a distressed and much more modern It Girl performing in the back of (and on top of) a Vauxhall hatchback, and then leads us back into the theatre. A harpist awaits inside and the harp and accordion blend together perfectly and eerily as I wonder what could possibly await and top that start! We are led by the mysterious singing accordionist through the lobby, bar and rehearsal rooms, through the circle seating and underneath the stage even as we are introduced to It Girls throughout the past one hundred years. Some are shocking, some are sad and troubled and some are gloriously happy and outrageous. All are mesmerising.  

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What was most interesting to me was that the entire audience (about twenty-five of us, as you may imagine this production held in small spaces is best in intimate small groups) was equally as mesmerised as me. Middle aged men who were serenaded by mandolin playing flapper girls, OAP’s shocked and entertained by accounts of sexual deviances and young adults enthralled by the sheer palpable energy exuded by the performers in scenes of expressive dance. All were enchanting and all were enchanted.

Dante Or Die is a theatre company who are not new to pushing the boundaries and producing thought-provoking and compelling productions. Whether they are performing suspended on a ski lift or being nominated for Fringe Festival awards, this company like to do things at full force and La Fille a la Mode certainly does this. It is not to be missed. And don’t worry, though the company are only performing for three nights at Theatre Royal, Winchester I am assured you can catch them this autumn at Theatre Royal, Haymarket. Keep your eyes peeled. 

words Emily Parrett @NormalityAndMe

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  1. […] Needless to say my vexation quickly subsided into sheer joy and admiration for the production that followed. Dante Or Die Theatre Group have produced an intimate, accomplished, haunting and playful production focussing on women in fashion and an ‘It Girl’ culture across the ages. Please head on over to Winchester Fashion Week Blog to see my full review…Here […]



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