Fringe review: La cravate bleue fails to translate

La cravate bleue marks the first francophone production at the Calgary Fringe Festival so I was looking forward to it.

Fringe festival director Michele Gallant told me that even non French-speaking audiences would be able to enjoy it because of all the singing and dancing. Unfortunately I beg to differ.

While Jean-François Plante-Tan is an energetic — and instantly likable — performer that alone does not carry the show.

There’s a lot of music in La cravate bleue but the music is not “incidental.” In other words the libretto is crucial to understanding the story and if you can’t understand the lyrics you won’t understand the show.

I loved Plante-Tan’s tap number and the tunes were nice but I still wanted to follow what was happening onstage. It drove me crazy that I never got the significance of the blue tie even though I heard it mentioned several times in songs or dialogue.

If you understand French then absolutely see this show because I think it would enhance the experience ands it’s important to support cultural diversity at an event like the fringe festival.

If your French language skills are limited then I would hesitate as you may leave feeling as frustrated as I did.