Camille Claudel

Gael le Cornec

Pleasance Courtyard

From 01 August 2012 to 27 August 2012

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

If Gael le Cornec’s portrayal is to be believed, Camille Claudel was a fin de siècle feminist trailblazer who should be better remembered today.

The Frenchwoman was a sculptor of genius who had a fiery relationship with August Rodin, the preeminent exponent of that art during her lifetime.

Rodin was much more to Camille, being her lover and muse, she his model and inspiration. Problems arose in attribution of ideas, since she claimed to have come up with many of his iconic images and had them stolen by the maître.

In a very conservative era, the sculptor’s espousal of free love did not go down well, even if her many lovers included not only Rodin but Debussy and other arty types.

The early success and artistic integrity eventually counted for nothing, as Camille spent the last three decades of a long life in a mental institution, dreaming of the fame and fortune that passed her by,looking for male hands in which to reside.

Gael le Cornec is a very physical performer, who conveys a fair amount of the enthusiasm and anguish of a lady who was born long before her time.