Pin It
Favorite

Review: Marie Antoinette 

The NOLA Project opens its season with a contemporary take on the French queen

click to enlarge stage_rec-1.jpg

During a tea party, Marie Antoinette — wearing a Cyndi Lauper-inspired tulle dress, blue wig and strings of pearls — complains that she feels trapped in the Palace of Versailles. The French queen, who was married to Louis XVI at age 14 to Louis XVI, takes a bite of expensive chocolate and sighs, saying she's misunderstood by the public, in The NOLA Project's production of Marie Antoinette at NOCCA's Nims Black Box Theatre.

  Written by David Adjmi, the show chronicles the years after Louis XVI (A.J. Allegra) ascends to the throne, which makes Austrian-born Marie (Cecile Monteyne) the Queen of France. In the run-up to the French Revolution, she deals with public scrutiny of her opulent lifestyle and failure to bear an heir quickly. The story takes place in the late 1700s, but this production links Marie's life to modern celebrity culture through pop music interludes featuring Miley Cyrus and Lorde. The contemporary framework, complete with paparazzi mob videos, frames the queen's story in comtemporary ideas of wealth and fame. It also gives the production a stunning visually and thematically stylized aesthetic.

  Initially, Marie's wardrobe, beautifully designed by Shauna Leone, is chic — full of trippy colors, broaches and elbow-length gloves. As the story progresses, the clothes are literally stripped away, creating stark contrast as she is disempowered. Bill Walker's impressive set is a platform shaped like a guillotine, with a blade and two chair-sized screws.

  In an excellent performance, Monteyne delivers a slow burn, going from a seemingly vapid teen queen to a humiliated but resilient figure. There's a hypnotic quality to Monteyne's presence as she transforms from out-of-touch queen to a vulnerable woman who can no longer control her life. Marie's fierce personality contrasts with Louis XVI, who's as insecure as he is indecisive. The king is challenged, directly and surreptitiously, by Marie's brother Joseph (Will Bowling) and the charming Axel Fersen (James Yeargain), with whom the queen has sexual tension. Allegra's childlike king gets big laughs as Monteyne's comedic foil.

  As the revolution erupts, the mobs descend on the palaces. In a gripping scene, Marie, who's lost everything, has her formerly big and beautiful hair forcefully cut off by a revolutionary (Graham Burk), who is chilling as he collects her locks in a bucket. The dethroned queen musters whatever strength she can as she awaits trial.

  Everything comes together seamlessly in the stellar show and opening production of The NOLA Project's 11th season.

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of Marie Antoinette, The NOLA Project

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Submit an event Jump to date

Latest in Stage Previews and Reviews

More by Tyler Gillespie

Spotlight Events

  • The Spider Queen @ Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden
    New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park, 1 Collins Diboll Circle http://www.noma.org

    • Through May 28
  • New Orleans Wine & Food Experience @ Citywide
    New Orleans

    • May 25-28
  • Greek Festival New Orleans @ Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
    1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd.

    • May 26-28
  • Close Me Out @ Hi-Ho Lounge
    2239 St. Claude Ave. http://www.hiholounge.net

    • First Saturday of every month

© 2017 Gambit
Powered by Foundation