It is a show of illusion, sleight of hand and sleight of mind made with her mother Victoria Thierrée Chaplin, who is the daughter of Charlie Chaplin and the grand-daughter of Eugene O’Neill. It’s quite a pedigree: Aurélia is the sister of James, the great circus performer whose shows include The Toad Knew and Raoul. She was practically born in a trunk.
Aurélia plays a kleptomanic who helps herself because she can’t help herself to anything that takes her fancy. A beau (dancer Jaime Martinez) who goes off to get some drinks finds his snug stripped bare, in a posh dress shop she becomes a quick-change artist, she inserts herself in paintings and medieval tapestries.
Jaime Martinez and Aurélia Thierrée. Photo by Richard Haughton
It is an utterly distinctive show, charming too. Perhaps at times a tad too charming, but its rackety aesthetic is beguiling, and it fits the Coronet like a fraying diamante glove. There is the sense of being inside somebody else’s absurd dream, a place where clothes become ducks, hat-stands transform into mythical beasts, disembodied heads appear and—more sinisterly—the pattern on a stolen scarf takes over an entire kitchen like a bewitchment or physical manifestation of a guilty mind. Images from one scene slip slide into another with a strange, skewed logic.
One of the pleasures of this brief evening is the skill with which it delivers its illusions in such a low-tech fashion. The show uses a few flats, a flimsy revolving door, a row of chairs, hat-stands and a ton of visual guile. Its aesthetic is fascinating: the tricks are just as enjoyable when you can see how they are done as when they amaze. It’s a show about a con-woman in which the cons are made visible. It’s a lovely conceit and executed by Aurélia and her partner in crime in captivating style.