Royal de Luxe is a French mechanical marionette street theatre company.
Founded in 1979, this French company has performed in the U.K., Germany, Mexico, Iceland, and Australia among other places around the world. I was lucky enough to run across them in London, and it’s a pretty impressive sight to behold.
They have been sparking the imagination of children and adults alike, with their delicately designed, giant size mechanical puppets that play out an element of a mythical story right out there in the public eye.
Royal de Luxe tend to think from an interesting perspective. They decided it was easier to reach an audience by going outside rather than dragging them indoors, so the shows are designed to play on the streets and in public open spaces.
Royal de Luxe has been performing in very public spaces with these beautiful giants for almost 25 years.
Some are 3-day shows where they try to tell a story to an entire city by adapting to the city. I find this such an inspiring way to tell a story; it’s like something right out of a Roald Dahl book—The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant) in particular comes to mind.
Here are a small handful of the titles of some of their performances:
*The Giant Who Fell From Heaven
*The House in the Trees
*The Visit Of The Sultan Of The Indies On His Time-Travelling Elephant
*The Hidden Rhinoceros
*The Little Girl-Giant and The Geyser of Reykjavik (based on Nordic folklore)
* The Fabulous Story of the Warrior Buried Alive of Santa Maria
*The Diver, His Hand And the Little Girl-Giant
*The Giant of Guadalajara (a giant Mexican dog puppet called Xolo)
*Sea Odyssey in Liverpool in England
* The Grandmother fallen from the galaxy into a field in Munster
If you want to watch another clip, here is when the Sultan’s Elephant and Little Girl-Giant came to London:
And taken from the Royal de Luxe website is the story of their original giant mechanical marionette, “The Giant Who Fell From Heaven”—have a read:
“In September 1993, Le Volcan national theatre invites Royal De Luxe to Le Havre. They create the “The Giant Who Fell From heaven.” For the first time, this show embodies the strong desire the company has to tell a story in a city in three days : “There once was a Giant who lived in the clouds. One day he fell from the sky and onto a boulevard. When he awoke, the humans had tied him up. The following day, they walked him through the city in a large cage for the entertainment of all. But every night the Giant dreamt, and the humans were afraid of his dreams. So they built a big wall of light to prevent him from sleeping. That night the Giant dreamt so hard he broke his cage and disappeared into the light… ”
I think it couldn’t have been put better, watching these huge marionettes certainly brings out your child-like nature and leaves you, as an audience, with a feeling of delight.