At the Grand Rex, the millimeter extravagance of Robert Charlebois


Robert Charlebois during his show “Robert en CharleboisScope”, on December 2, 2022, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, in Montreal.

December 6, 2019, Friday light snowfall. Everything that counts in the Belle Province, and even those that count for butter, the “All-Montreal” who designates himself for laughs “Montreal Inc.”, on the floor. Neither an American-style supershow nor a never-before-seen music-hall boost… With its full-throttle screens, its overlays, its cinematographic quotations, its sixteen songs, its orchestra, the Robert en CharleboisScope succeeds in this feat of not falling into overplayed flashiness.

In the center, leaping, swaying, slender silhouette and four-winded curls, unchanging voice, rabble spirit, there is Robert (78 years old), more inventive than an alphabetical Petit Robert (dictionary), less heavy than the Grand, this Charlebois which we make flutes, a pure gift for the French-speaking world, a great purveyor of tiny nothings and great wonders.

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At the helm, amazing visual creators – La Tribu, Cirque du Soleil Group, Champagne Club Sandwich – orchestrated by Claude Larivée, ten musicians led by Daniel Lacoste, an army of small hands, all devoted to the cause, to the “ordinary singer”alone capable of extraordinary phenomena to finally “it clicks! ».

In the shadows, tutelary angel among angels, watches over Laurence Charlebois, mediator, coordinator, peacemaker, the one whose twin-engine propeller fanatic declares (of love): “I owe him absolutely everything. I wouldn’t have had this career that has lasted sixty years without her. » Autofiction for real bodies, millimetric extravagance, giant screens for intimate emotions, celebration of the imagination of a literally unique artist, it is a devilry of thought, pataphysics, and even quantum pataphysics.

Tap into the eye of Aragon

The interplanetary flight of sounds and lights lasts 100 minutes (according to the tax inspector), one second (for the poet), an eternity (for ordinary mortals). The poet, let’s talk about it. On the first page of his first book, Anicet or the Panorama, novel (1921), Aragon tells this: learning that Anicet was a poet, his parents “were in line with the universal opinion, since they did what all parents of a poet do: they called him an ungrateful son and enjoined him to travel”.

And Robert’s parents? His mother, “catholic knitter”, the hoped for was a lawyer or a priest… His father, an industrialist, had vast plans. Well, they immediately enrolled him in the National Theater School. It’s his irresistible side, but also what makes him say: “I had great parents. Plus Laurence, who is amazing. » That’s the secret.

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