Today, fortunately, “mime” means a lot more. And much of the responsibility for that lies with the London International Mime Festival, which is soon to embark on its 39th annual edition. It will bring us an exhilarating, entertaining, thought-provoking, at times profoundly moving and often delirious mix of visual and physical theatre.
For just over three weeks in January artists from places as far apart as the USA, New Zealand, Belgium, Japan and, of course, Britain will bring their circus acts, their puppets, their juggling and dancing, their music and their wordless story-telling to London.
The number of venues eager to host the acts of the LIMF has grown over the years. Now even the august Royal Opera House has got in on the act: its Linbury Theatre provides a stage for the eagerly anticipated collaboration between jugglers and ballet dancers in 4 X 4, a staggeringly original show directed by Sean Gandini.
The 2015 Festival opens with a performance by Britain’s most exciting young acrobats, Barely Methodical Troupe, of their show Bromance, winner of the Edinburgh Total Theatre Award. This takes place in yet another relatively new space, the Central St. Martin’s Platform Theatre in King’s Cross.
Some of the 64 performances put on by 18 companies will be collaborations: one such show, Plexus, will bring together Compagnie 111, Aurélien Bory and the extraordinary Japanese dancer Kaori Ito. This will take place at Sadler’s Wells, a venue well-known for embracing new and daring dance and visual theatre.
Another fascinating collaboration will be that of New York puppeteer Basil Twist and Japanese master musician Yumiko Tanaka, taking their audience on a visual journey inspired by the Japanese art of creating illusions through the use of perspective (see separate preview).
This show is hosted by the Barbican, which will also offer us darker fare with Theatre Ad Infinitum’s Light, inspired by Edward Snowden’s revelations of widespread and illegal government surveillance.
There will be comedic circus at Jackson’s Lane with British clown Chris Lynam, followed by No Fit State Circus; and comedic circus with knobs on at the Southbank, where Belgium’s Circus Ronaldo mixes tragedy and clowning, opera, marionettes and a touch of arson in his Felinesque show, Amortale.
The 39th London International Mime Festival will be nothing if not varied and innovative, or to quote The Guardian, “gaspworthy,” qualities which have earned its directors, Joseph Seelig and Helen Lannaghan, the International Theatre Institute Award for Excellence.
|What||London International Mime Festival (LIMF)|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
08 Jan 15 – 31 Jan 15, Various times check with venues
|Website||Click here for more information|