ACTING REVIEWS

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, produced at the Mercury Theater in Chicago. Yvonne portrayed Toadpipe, a demon in Hell & transformed into 10 different characters. The play extended 4 times & enjoyed 95 sold-out shows. 

“Yvonne Gougelet, a phenomenal actress whose physical eloquence speaks volumes in The Screwtape Letters…” “Meanwhile, Gougelet not only brilliantly suggests Everywoman (from Bible-clutching priggish wife to runway model), but also supplies the stinging punctuation for each and every letter in this smart, sizzling hellish entertainment.”

“Yvonne Gougelet’s performance as Toadpipe single-handedly kept me from walking out of the theater. At the snap of a finger she transforms from a creature that snarls and crawls around on all fours into caricatures of a gluttonous old woman or angelic Christian. Constantly attentive and playing off of McClean’s lead, Gougelet’s acting is not only concise but very physical, as she uses her body to climb, crawl, contort and scramble around. There are moments when she growls, and does a great job pantomiming certain actions."

‘Screwtape Is A Feast For The Soul: “Yvonne Gougelet is a delectable Toadpipe, Screwtape’s mute secretary/snack who also transforms into the different cast of characters that Screwtape is describing in the letters. Ms. Gougelet’s part is not to be underestimated as she is on stage for the entire performance. Toadpipe has a vocabulary all her own, combining gibberish and guttural sounds which only Screwtape seems to understand. Gougelet is a much needed presence for the story and perfectly compliments McLean’s performance.”

“The performances are crisp and clever: …Yvonne Gougelet as Screwtape’s personal toady Toadpipe conveys an impressive array of emotions and characters without dialogue.”

“Gougelet totally makes the perfectly awkward demon character, maintaining the odd movements and striking bizarre poses throughout the performance.”

"The Screwtape Letters” has been the biggest hit in the history of the Mercury Theatre.”  … “Yvonne Gougelet writhes and slithers around the stage like an eel staking a claim on a wet rock.” … “But, you know, all of this very colorful behavior serves this florid and distinctive piece very nicely. The exuberant theatricality leaves you wiping your brow at the end.”

"Screwtape dictates his corresponding letters to Toadpipe, his whimsically witty and wordless demon secretary. Yvonne Gougelet creates this funny and fantastical creature with otherworldly physicality and mischievous imagination.”

World Magazine: "Yvonne Gougelet as Toadpipe revealed her training as a dancer with her most effective body language and other-worldly vocalizations. A drama of this intensely philosophical nature requires some kind of interaction to pull it off, and Gougelet made the part her own.”

The American Culture: “Screwtape’s secretary, Toadpipe (Yvonne Gougelet), shares the stage as a feminine seductress emitting wordless sounds (not in the book). She helps give the necessarily wordy production comic relief.”

Hellburns: “Yvonne Gougelet is one agile and ticklish demon. She takes dictation, bounds and contorts around the stage, and, most hilariously, acts out what we humans look like to the realms below.”

Chicagoland Theater Reviews: “Yvonne Gougelet plays Toadpipe as a kind of nasty reptile. The character is mostly on stage to provide visual variety from an otherwise all-talk, little action drama. Yvonne Gougelet gets maximum mileage out of her character. She displays the supple body of a gymnast and contributes some nice physical exclamation points to the evening’s satirical thrusts.”

Relevant Magazine: “Toadpipe serves as the scribe for Screwtape, taking care of all the letter management issues and freeing up the senior devil to pontificate and storm around the aesthetically pleasing office in hell. More importantly, Toadpipe morphs into the human characters and personifies many of the ideas which helps clarify for the audience what Lewis is doing in creating this upside-down spirit world. Yet Toadpipe never speaks a word. She croaks, screeches and grunts. She climbs up a ladder, seals all the letters and munches on what looks like a bone. But she also adopts the posture of the humans in a way that draws the audience in, allowing the imagination to create an emotional bond with the core of the story. The combination of all these elements, of Toadpipe’s antics, of Screwtape’s growing frustration, and of the civility of a collegiate correspondence school, create a provocative evening of theater that is at once funny and frightening.”

The Local Tourist: “Toadpipe (played by Yvonne Gougelet) takes down the letter with her claws, and later, in an inspired moment, her feet. With virtually no spoken lines, Gougelet, in a stunningly ballsy costume, steals the first half of the 90 minute production as Toadpipe, a cross between a troll and a rabid feral cat. Her unholy caterwalling and quick, ferret like movements were at first amusing and almost cute. By the end I was mostly just terrified she was going to eat my face.” 

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HEMIKRANIA: Yvonne produced, directed & performed her original one-woman show for a month at the Demarco Roxy Theater at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

“It’s an archetypal Fringe lucky dip. But step right up to the bran barrel ladies and gentlemen, these are quality prizes. Yvonne Gougelet’s HemiKrania is a black comedy about migraines which personifies the tormenting ailment as a growling beast. This is another engaging, witty performance which thoughtfully explores the dilemma of anyone suffering a chronic illness. Take the drugs and accept the side-effects or face down the symptoms unaided.” FOUR STARS

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COWBOY MOUTH and SWEET EROS: Two plays Ms. Gougelet produced and performed in, at Tobacco Road in Miami, Florida. 

“Theater for the Adventurous: Yvonne Gougelet and Gregg Weiner hit the stage as Cavale and Slim in Sam Shepard’s classic one-act Cowboy Mouth. Two hours go by, and I’ve forgotten that our current president is the first Western leader to go to South Africa and not have a meeting with Nelson Mandela. I forget that despite winning the war, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and weapons of mass destruction have not been found and that American soldiers are getting popped off at close range while they wait in line to buy sodas in Baghdad. I even forget that I’m eight months pregnant and that every five minutes or so, there’s a foot ramming against the inside of my rib cage. In other words, I’ve been transported. Good theater does that sometimes, and this is damn good theater.”

“Gougelet and Weiner, current and former New World School of the Arts students respectively, have managed to redefine the roles of Shepard’s Cavale and Slim. This is no small feat.”

“Gougelet’s raw, gut-level portrayal of Cavale makes her both a white-trash femme fatale and an endearing lost soul.”

“As in Cowboy Mouth, the duo is phenomenal. Much credit goes to Gougelet for her stamina, versatility, and dramatic range. She goes from a loudmouthed bipolar to a bound-and-gagged yuppie victim. With her speaking part reduced to that of a caged singing bird, she relies on her well-honed physical vocabulary, creating a subtle blend of fear, hostility, and submissiveness that goes well beyond any made-for-TV, love-your-captor role – the potential pitfall of this plot line.”

“It’s the price of a movie, and it may be some of the best drama you’ll see all summer.”