by Isabelle-Ann Charlebois
Jean Cocteau (Marc Labrèche) is often suspended from the rafters and surrounded by a starry sky, taking us with him, into him, deep in his thoughts about life and about his lost love, the poet Radiguet. Through Labrèche’s acting and words we can almost feel the wellbeing that opium procures. At other times, Labrèche plays Robert, a Quebec actor who escaped to Paris after a breakup. Living in La Louisianne Hotel, room number 9, where once stayed Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Robert struggles with the desire to be rehabbed from his love for the girl. What unifies the play is the music and glimpses of the life of Miles Davis and his addiction to heroin and the chanteuse Juliette Greco.
Even if the subject is often very heavy, Lepage brings out lightness throughout the play and Labrèche makes us laugh as well. This is a must see here, or in Toronto.
The production subsequently tours to Toronto at Canadian Stage as Needles and Opium November 22-December 1