Imagine Toi


Edinburgh Review by Willard Manus

Fresh from triumphs in Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco and in solo appearances in Paris and Sydney, Julien Cottereau played to sold-out houses at the recently concluded 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. IMAGINE TOI featured the slender, youthful mime in an ideal setting--a spacious tent on the grounds of Princes St. Gardens, with the famed Edinburgh castle looking down from on high.

Cottereau is more than just a mime: he acts, dances and (with the help of a mike) creates all kinds of sound effects--everything from the roar of a lion to the beating of a would-be lover's heart. Like all mimes, he creates scenarios in which circumstances (or creatures of his own invention) encroach on him, causing problems which he must overcome in panicked but comic fashion. A case in point being when he starts chewing on a piece of bubble gum, only to become tangled up hopelessly in its long sticky strands.

Combining the childish innocence of Bean, the cheekiness of Harpo, and the deft mimicry of Blip, Cottereau is a multi-faceted performer, one who loves to poke fun at everything that's imperfect and absurd about the human race. He often works the audience into his act, inviting select members to take part in one of his unscripted, madcap skits.

Like all circus clowns, Cottereau specializes in physical humor: take-offs on disco dancing, animal training, playing ball. No matter what he does, though, he does it in a magical, irrestibly appealing way.