BIJOU a cabaret of secrets and seduction

by Chrissie Shaw. Directed by Susan Pilbeam. Design by Imogen Keen and Victoria Worley. Choreography by Liz Lea.

In a Parisian café bar in 1932, we meet Bijou draped in her tattered finery. Over many glasses of wine, she reads palms, tells saucy stories, sings snatches of song and relives the adventures of her long-lost youth. The bar pianist plays Satie, Weill, Hollander, Bruant and more, triggering memories of Bijou’s haphazard past. It’s a Cabaret of ribald tales, French and German songs and the unravelling of a life story…truth or fantasy? Chrissie Shaw plays Bijou, with Alan Hicks on piano.

Some of Bijou’s adventures included dance! As an elderly lady, she recalls these dances, with humour and pathos. The dances are drawn from the idiom of the times, from 1880s show dance, a Loie Fuller-style interpretive scarf dance, a tango, fox-trot and waltz, Bavarian slap-dance, even a segment of 18th Century stylized gesture. Liz Lea is the choreographer for Bijou, working with Chrissie to create the impression of familiarity with the dance, hampered by the limitations of an aged body! Fun!

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