Review written for Spoonfed, London Theatre:
Writer and actor Judith Paris conveys the image Madame Tussaud, an unconquerable woman, mellowed with age; a woman who in the 18th century delayed marriage until her mid thirties, after she narrowly survived the guillotine during the French Revolution and met both Bonaparte and Robespierre, before being spectacularly screwed out of her own business by her husband. Her art is her obsession and her memories retold with the careful reminiscence of a grandmother. Set in 1837 when Tousaud is 76, her epic story nods at the likes of Scaramouche Jones who also lives through historic milestones.
But there is a major difference that makes the real story of Madame Toussad feel less riveting than Justin Butcher’s creation. The character Scaramouche is an energetic performer who becomes his former selves as he retells his journey. Paris allows Tussaud to do this to great effect at the start when she regresses back to a childlike state surrounded by the people who would shape her life and the political landscape of Western Europe. But thereafter she not much more than an old lady reflecting, but reflecting on something quite epic nonetheless.