Les Parents Terribles
The mirrored back wall and ceiling of Andrew D Edwards’ set for Yvonne’s bedroom reflect the audience in the compact Studio 2. Yvonne, her failed inventor husband George, their son Michael and his aunt Leo, make up Cocteau’s spectacularly dysfunctional family who see themselves as a gypsy encampment. If we are voyeurs, these chaotic bohemians are narcissists – Yvonne needs to be watched but the others eagerly play their part in her melodrama too.
In Cocteau’s 1938 drama – famously written in eight opium-fuelled days – Yvonne and Michael’s love for each other borders on the Oedipal. Leo is still in love with George and attempts to bring order to the family mayhem. When Michael falls in love with sweet young bookbinder Madeleine, his father is horrified to realise that she is his own mistress.