Macaulay Culkin - Madame Melville - Richard Nelson - Vaudeville Theatre

On 6 February 2001, I was at the theatre - for a change!! I went to see Madame Melville at the Vaudeville Theatre starring Macaulay Culkin, the former child star. He began his acting career at the age of four playing the grandson of Burt Lancaster in Rocket Gibraltar and has had several film roles since then. He shot to international stardom with his lead in John Hughes' film Home Alone in which he plays a resourceful child who is accidentally left behind when his family goes on vacation. He received a Golden Globe for his performance. Later there was a sequel Home Alone II: Lost in New York. Culkin has studied dance at Ballanchine's American School of Ballet, appeared in several music videos and has hosted Saturday Night Live. Seeing him on stage brought back memories of when I told my daughter to see the film Home Alone. Now they are both older and Macaulay at 24 has certainly grown up. (He was only six when Home Alone was filmed. )

In Madame Meville he plays Carl, an American student in 1966 Paris, aged 15 who has an affair with his 30-something literature teacher, Claudie (the Madame Melville of the title). In real life Culkin had an early marriage at 17, but the couple is now separated.

The play was directed by Richard Nelson and produced by Bill Kenwright's nephew Adam, though the two have an on-going feud and never speak, which started mainly because Adam didn't want to continue to work for his uncle and wanted to branch out on is own.

Irene Jacob (as Claudie) said to Macaulay that the play wasn't a love story; it's a "love moment". It's a play filled with art and sensuality. It's not so much about sex; it's about all the things that come with it. Madelaine Potter was excellent as Ruth. Ruth was Claudie's rather sad neighbour, a sixties' musician who finds that life in Paris has its downside and discovers that romance can lead to crab-lice!!

It's actually a memory play told by Carl (Culkin's role) from somewhere in the future, possibly when he is in his fifties, and how the affair had shaped his life.

Music included J.S. Bach's Branderburg Concerto No 1 in F major; Danse Sacree et Dance Profane by Debussy; Nuages by Django Reinhardt and J. Larve performed by Stephanie Grappelli; Nuit Sur Les Champs Elysees by Miles Davis; Rondo all Zingarese from Brahms Piano Concerto No 1 in G Minor; Papagena! Papagena! from Mozart's The Magic Flute and Oui Oui Oui! sung by the Les Djinni Singers.


Verinha Ottoni.


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