Arturo Brachetti - Change

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 19 October 2009, Opened 26 October 2009, Closed 3 January 2010 at the Garrick Theatre in London.

The 'quick-change' artist Arturo Brachetti in London with his show Change.

You won't believe what one man can do. In an amazing display of virtuosic skill, Arturo Brachetti brings over one hundred characters to life on the stage in a unique and spectacular show that simply has to be seen to be believed. With characters as diverse as James Bond to the Queen via Johnny Rotten, Arturo Brachetti transforms himself in the blink of an eye in an astonishing display of the time-honoured art of quick change. Combined with these eye-popping illusions is Arturo's own distinct brands of humour and charm that produces a show that tells the story of a famed entertainer whose memories of his illustrious career come to life.

Regarding his 'quick changes, Arturo Brachetti said: "It's like when they change the four wheels of a Ferrari in the pit stop. You see it, but it happens so fast that you can't take it in," adding that "the costumes are specially made. Some of them are really complicated, and some of them are very simple."

Change has its faults, but a lack of the wow factor isn't one of them. There's enough sensational stuff in here to carry you through 90 minutes, plus the interval, and leave you wanting more... Sean Foley's dazzling production sometimes tries too hard to speak to its audience. We get heavily accented, clownish chat from Brachetti, interplay between 'old' Brachetti and 'young' Brachetti. Change is at its best in the second half, when it largely ignores its narrative contrivances and gets on with the set pieces... Change looks and sounds amazing, played out in front of a revolving giant cube filled with sets and gimmicks, but isn't always fully achieved... It's spectacle at heart - but it's so full of ideas that it feels warming rather than empty." The Times

"[Arturo Brachetti] pulls off a bravura display of the variety act with which Leopoldo Fregoli, Brachetti's compatriot and hero, first wowed London audiences a century ago. At times you really can't believe your eyes... There's a sense that Change is striving to be deep and meaningful - 'we need illusion to keep the spirit free' - when in its heart of hearts it knows it's all about the tricks. The two sides never quite meet in the middle and the fictionalised version of Brachetti's life story simply gets in the way of the quicksilver stunts. Strip away the pretension and there's much to marvel at." The London Metro

"There's a breathtaking, jaw-dropping virtuosity about Arturo Brachetti's spectacularly quick changes. In a blink of an eye this astonishing vaudevillian changes from the costume of a punk to a soldier wearing a busby, to the Queen complete with crown, all without breaking sweat. In a mad dash through Hollywood, he becomes Gene Kelly singing in the rain, Humphrey Bogart, James Bond and Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz. He can walk through a screen and become his tediously older, maudlin, grey-haired self, with whom he conducts a tiresome, pseudo-philosophical discussion. But his shadow puppetry - a stag, an elephant, a dog with its tongue hanging out - is truly stupendous... How he does it, I can't begin to imagine. Why he does it is a greater mystery, unless it is to keep alive the largely forgotten art of quick-change, which first become popular in Italy in the 17th Century. No wonder it feels a bit old-hat. Brachetti's patter is witless and his homage to Federico Fellini is entirely wasted on me, but as a conjuror, he's absolutely magic." The Mail on Sunday

Arturo Brachetti in London at the Garrick Theatre previews from 19 October 2009, opens on 26 October 2009 and closes on 3 January 2010.