Every once in a while, a show comes along that both defies description and leaves you laughing. It’s a rare combination, but Micro manages it, not least because its four performers are French and have the sort of Gallic charm that makes it impossible to resist their hybrid antics.
Micro is not dance, it’s not theatre, and it’s not music. Nor is it stand-up or circus. It has elements of all these, although, in truth, the group aren’t hugely skilled at any of them except as rock musicians, at which they have some ability. It’s the work of director Pierre Rigal who describes it in the programme as a ‘physical concert’, which translates as a mildly experimental rock gig with wacky performance elements.
These include absurdist touches, such as when the gorgeously good-looking Gwenael Drapeau plays the keyboards back-to-front, or when the very foxy Melanie Chartreux lolls on top of a bass drum while he bangs the rest of the kit as well as her up-turned, high-heeled toes. Drapeau also ‘plays’ the other performers like a xylophone, hitting them on the head while they “ahh” and “oohh”. Then they all play the instruments in pairs, seeming to morph into their guitars, keyboards and drums. As I say, the French four have considerable charm, with the single girl looking like a young Pat Benatar, and the three men her cool yet keen admirers.
The quartet cram onto the tiny Gate stage, along with their guitars, drums and keyboards. How everything is squeezed in is anyone’s guess, but they achieve it with disarming humor that makes you laugh along with the occasionally berk-ish performance rather than at it. The ‘air guitar’ sequence wouldn’t be funny on performers with less appeal, while much else would come across as a student review or jamming session rather than a paid event.
The piece occasionally drags (the first quarter is especially wooly), but overall Micro leaves you with the warm glow of young Europeans doing their thing.