the two giant dogs tumbled through the streets of Villeurbanne

Bull thing, cigar in beak and blindfold, on Cours Émile Zola in Villeurbanne. Credits: Nolwenn Jaumouille

Friday morning, the world premiere of the show which staged “Bull Machin” and “Xolo” was held in Villeurbanne in the presence of the Minister of Culture Rima Abdul-Malak. The event continues all weekend.

It was around 10:30 a.m. on Friday September 23 that a large black Aztec dog named Xolo woke up on the forecourt of Villeurbanne town hall. Faced with an audience of curious people and the Minister of Culture who came to attend the show of the Royal de Luxe company, the 300 kg mechanical animal lazily unfolded its legs and pricked up its ears under a rain of fake snow.

A few minutes later in Charpennes, a huge drooling bulldog – whose story says he is from Villeurbanne – weighing 860 kg and 4.40 m high, opened his eyes in turn. For an hour and a half in the middle of an amazed crowd, the two beasts strolled between the town hall, the Charpennes station and the Gratte-Ciel metro station, stopping to greet residents on the terrace, buy tobacco cigars or make stroking.

Xolo when he wakes up in the town hall square in Villeurbanne. Credits: Nolwenn Jaumouille
Xolo stops to be petted by passers-by. Credits: Nolwenn Jaumouille
The awakening of “Bull Machin” in Charpennes. Credits: Nolwenn Jaumouille

Favorite “Bull Machine”

By whole classes, the little Villeurbannais deserted the schools to attend the show, amazed or a little frightened. The grown-ups were not missing either, coming especially for the occasion or contemplating from the threshold of their shops this impressive machinery moving under the action of a dozen costumed manipulators. While one gave the orders, the others carried them out, each pulling on a rope to move the animal forward, make it turn right, left, make it wag its tail, listen, stick out a white tongue drooling, rolling their eyes or even spitting on the audience. All to music.

At no time did the two canines meet, each evolving with his audience. But, let’s be honest, the face of Bull What’s who, sometimes smoking a cigar decked out in an eye mask, sometimes spitting nonchalantly on the public, undoubtedly won the hearts of the majority of visitors. At the end of their peregrination, punctuated by a few gallops, each of them went back to bed: the Villeurbannais colossus on the forecourt of the town hall, the Mexican dog on the roof of a Sytral bus! Before the next wandering, which resumed at 2:45 p.m.

Xolo went around noon on the roof of a bus, market square. Credits: Nolwenn Jaumouille
Bull Machin went to the town hall of Villeurbanne. Credits: Nolwenn Jaumouille

(Almost) unanimous enthusiasm

Behind the show, the cost of which amounts to 2 million euros, hides the street theater company Royal de Luxe, a specialist in giant machines, whose visit to Villeurbanne is part of “Villeurbanne, French capital of Culture “.

Laure, who already knew and loves the work of these artists, appreciated it but said she was a little disappointed by the size of the dogs. “I found it almost a bit small, compared to other shows they’ve been able to do with giants.” His mother Marie-Pascale, who lives in Lyon, was captivated. “I didn’t really know what to expect but I was very impressed, especially by the expressiveness of the faces, it’s incredible”.

If enthusiasm dominates among the Villeurbannais, the show is not to everyone’s taste. Like this passerby who found the show “ugly, so ugly”throwing at her friend that she didn’t “nothing missed”. If you weren’t there this morning and are curious to know what you missed, the show is scheduled throughout the weekend, free of charge, in the streets of Villeurbanne. 100,000 people are expected and the routes and timetables can be found on the Villeurbanne French Capital of Culture website.

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