Arturo Brachetti: Change

Published October 27, 2009

Arturo Brachetti, the man of a thousand faces, brings variety performance back to London in Change, a unique show that has the whole audience questioning what is happening before their eyes and if what they are seeing is actually possible.

Internationally known as ‘the world’s greatest quick-change artist’, Brachetti’s skill needs some introduction to an English audience, and he wastes no time doing so. In the first few minutes of his show he presents London as it has never been seen before, changing from a marching Beefeater to a swearing, spitting Sid Vicious, to a dignified waving Queen in a matter of seconds.

This is where Brachetti’s unique talent lies, with his sometimes jaw-dropping ability to literally change in the blink of an eye. A black tuxedo becomes a garishly coloured suit in the wave of a flag, a plain dress becomes that of a pearly queen quicker than you can say ‘doing the Lambeth walk’ and Maria from The Sound Of Music becomes a pig-tailed Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz in less time than clicking your heels together three times would take.
Change is a biographical piece to some extent, charting the life and career of Brachetti, acknowledging his influences from the original quick change artist Leopoldo Fregoli to the director Federico Fellini, who believed fiction and reality constantly overlapped in life, exactly what Brachetti shows us with his magic show.

Constantly swapping between a young Brachetti, with his distinctive spiky hair, and an older version of himself, the show builds up to Brachetti’s last trick The Final Transformation, where the show climaxes in a glittery blur.

A vast revolving box opens and transforms to provide the backdrops and sets for Brachetti’s series of skits. His retro apartment provides nostalgia for his life stories, while the box itself allows the artist to perform a history of film, changing from King Kong to Humphrey Bogart in mere moments. The use of video screens means the old and young Brachetti can meet, becoming not unlike the Chuckle Brothers as they bicker and joke together about the years past and the ones still to come.

A mixture of child-friendly magic and physical comedy that is both silly and often strictly only for the adult members of the audience, Brachetti brings the lost art of variety back to the London stage.

CM