Nothing Toulouse Chapter Two: Passion, Protests, Parasites, Peril

by Jim Fishwick on 10 July, 2019 in Shows, blog
The sun rises over a beautiful and calm morning in the artistic haven of Montmartre. But trouble, like the morning’s café au lait, is brewing.
In their shared quarters, Bellafonte Andolini (Tim Redmond) and Danish sailor Magnus Damgaard (Mike Bryant) console Monsieur Yoplait (Jaime Cerda) to not give up on his dreams of becoming a dancer, despite last week’s setbacks.
Meanwhile, across the road, Eloise Andolini (Brenna Dixon) shares a breakfast with Clair De Lune (Amy Moule), who is invigorated both by the caffeine and by Eloise’s offer to be her cultural guide to the ins and outs of Montmartre.
Frankston Pierre (John Voce) wakes up hungover, and next to lady of the night Grizabella Rossellini (Mel Eccleston). Well, absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.
He professes that he loved every minute of their night together, and she starts unpacking her things to settle into his garret. He confesses that he hasn’t slept with a woman in fifteen years, since his wife Natalie died. Indignant at his omission, she leaves the apartment.
Backstage at Le Chat Rouge, Henri La Trebuchet (Jason Geary) is auditioning dancers to model for his next painting – a duck doing a goosestep. For purely artistic reasons, of course, none of the male dancers make the cut.
Gustav Eiffel (Rik Brown) consults with his chief engineer Jacques la Tourneur (Rhys Auteri) on the construction of his new tower. The progress is slow, and Eiffel is unhappy. Jacques tries to justify his work, but Eiffel fires him.
Out on a father-daughter walk, Bellafonte and Eloise Andolini have a father-daughter talk. He speaks in riddles, but is clearly unhappy that she is courting M. Eiffel, a man that makes Bellafonte feel small. Eloise asks why she is not allowed love, just because Bellafonte’s is dead. Bellafonte insists he just wants to protect her, and make sure Gustav is a kind and virtuous man.
Clair De Lune visits Henri La Trebuchet’s studio, to observe him painting his new mallard masterpiece. Henri feels that her observation is more of an obstruction to his process, though, and he accuses her of being a cultural vampire and a gentrifying parasite that is destroying the soul of the city.
Frankston Pierre sees Grizabella Rossellini canoodling with the Jacques la Tourner. He tries to be jovial about her split affections before insisting he’s more worthy of  Grizabella’s love. When he is turned down, he flares up and storms out. He goes to seek advice from Bellafonte Andolini, and finds Grizabella’s perfume bottle in Andolini’s bed.
Henri La Trebuchet convenes a meeting of all and sundry to gain support for his petition against Eiffel’s Tower. There is no love lost between Henri and his former friend Eiffel, and Henri declares the mob must take action, by taking out all the screws from the tower. Clair De Lune suggests they could incite an artistic rebellion, and the crowd decides to do both. Pourquoi pas les deux?
At that very moment, Gustav Eiffel enters, and locks horns with Henri. Gustav says he is an artist, trying to transition Paris into a new, modern way of life. Magnus  Damgaard is seemingly his only supporter. Henri calls Eiffel a hack for getting other people to do his work for him. Eiffel claps back, asking whether Henri makes his own pencils for his sketches. As it turns out, Henri shaves the wood himself, and fills it with lead he retrieves from the lead caves. He offers to take Gustav there himself.
Meanwhile, Bellafonte, Frankston, and Jacques are all following each other through the winding alleyways of Montmartre, each believing the others to know where Grizabella is. They bump into each other, and accuse each other of stealing hats,hopes, and hearts. Grizabella arrives on the scene, looking for Frankston, declaring that she belongs with him, that he’s the only one who sees her for who she really is.
Henri La Trebuchet is methodically taking out all the screws from the half-built tower.
At the top, however, Gustav Eiffel is consoled by his love Eloise Bandolini. She tells him to follow his heart, to trust his vision of a square tower, no matter who insist it should be triangular. He worries that he’s holding her back from artistic success, but she replies that he inspires her.
Monsieur Yoplait, warming up backstage at Le Chat Rouge, is inspired by Magnus Damgaard to not give up on his dancing dreams. He apologises to the other dancers for bailing on them last time, and as the band strikes up, Yoplait steps up and dances his heart out!
Grizabella and Frankston return to his garret, to spend some time alone together. He has one last confession, however. He confesses that he was never married at all, it was a fabrication to so people would think more of him. In fact, he has never been with a woman at all. But this is not the most turbulent event to befall a couple tonight, as…
Eiffel and Eloise are on top of the world, and also on top of the half-constructed tower. But just as Eloise sings to him of her love, there is a rumbling from the floors below. It seems that Henri’s sabotage has come to fruition.
Will Eiffel and Eloise survive? What will Grizabella make of Frankston’s virginity? Will fame and success go to the head of Monsieur Yoplait? And what mysteries lie at the heart of the lead caves? Find out in next week’s performance!
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