Mime London: What to do in London,
A theatre festival
like no other, LIMF defies out-dated conceptions of mime. Don’t expect the
white-faced descendants of Marcel Marceau fighting to extricate themselves from
invisible boxes: “Essentially we use the M word to embrace a great range of
performance styles unencumbered with language,” explain directors Helen
Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig. As a result, LIMF has brought together the world’s most innovating visual theatre annually since 1977.
“Increasingly there is an appetite among the theatre-going
public for something more, something different,” say the directors, and as
traditional theatre seeks innovation, visual theatre is providing the ideas. Featuring lighting
and sets to knock even the most seasoned inventor’s socks off, LIMF is riddled
with pioneers and their ideas are preceding
them onto big stages. “Just think of the enormous success of the National Theatre’s War Horse, whose central and most
memorable character is a puppet.”
With 18 shows plus films and workshops across 6 venues, a bit of risk is part of the atmosphere at the London Mime Fest, and above all we recommend that you pick a handful of events and test it out. But here are a few performances we can’t wait to see:
Ockham’s Razor: Tipping Point, Platform Theatre
'Tipping Point' by Ockham's Razor, photo Nik Mackey
LIMF opens with the brilliant Marcel from Complicite original members Jos Houben and Marcello Magni, closely followed by the kind of modest, plain-clothed bang that
typifies the festival, from Ockham's Razor. Tipping Point
sees five performers and five metal poles combine on stage in intricate aerial
routines and temporary structures against a live soundscape. Rather than play
up their superhuman skills, this is a show all about vulnerability, and the
trust that’s required when all your games are played up in the air.
More like this: Also testing trust and fighting gravity will be Compagnie Yoann Bourgeois at the Barbican in He Who falls, a spectacular feat of balance involving six performers and a tilting, spinning, suspended wooden stage. Rave reviews from Europe suggest this isn’t one to miss. Discover it here.
Trygve Wakenshaw: Nautilus, Soho Theatre
'Nautilus' at the Soho Theatre, (c) Trygve Wakenshaw
The Kiwi clown and his weirdly elastic body were one of our
top picks of 2014. Audiences of Wakenshaw’s Kraken
just refused to leave, insisting on a lasting standing ovation. Employing the
gags of traditional mime in a playful send-up that admires as it mocks, his
cartoonish humour charms the most cynical into laughter.
Al Seed: Oog, Jackson’s Lane
Al Seed - Oog © Alberto Santos Bellido
The great reviews that have accompanied Al Seed’s work, both
this and previously The Factory, come
with a warning - his post-apocalyptic, Post Traumatic Stress material makes for
uncomfortable watching. Portraying a mind coming to terms with violence from within a room locked only by fear of going outside, it’s a
one-man masterpiece in wordless articulacy.
Not at all like this: Try Horror at the Peacock Theatre for a dose of completely gratuitous, predictable horror flick fun. Discover it here.
Family Floez: Infinita, Peacock Theatre
'Infinita', Familie Floez, photo Michael Ottopal presse
You might think facial expression would be vital in theatre
without words, but these German masters of masked theatre are here to prove you
wrong. A long-time hit on the fringe circuit, they load the tiniest movements
with visual punchlines for maximum expression. Infinita is the hilarious portrayal of
friends from unruly children to similarly unruly residents of old people’s
home. We saw them on their last visit and were captivated - don’t miss.
More family friendly theatre: Kite at Soho Theatre puts the benevolent figure of a mischievous white kite on a mission to help a little girl with no parents.
Circa: The Return, Barbican
Circa, 'The Return', photo by Chris Herzfeld, Camlight Productions
Described by the Telegraph’s Matt Trueman as ‘black tie and
ballgown circus,’ Australian circus pioneers Circa are a cut above Big Top
antics. Topping a back catalogue that takes in performances in cathedrals and
with string quartets, The Return
soars to the sound of Monteverdi’s operas. From swaying human towers to
twisting silk dancers, Circa pack more drama than La Traviata and as much grace as Swan Lake.
Also at the Barbican: Some stunning visual theatre in
Stereoptik’s Dark Circus at the Barbican. With a few
splashes of sand and ink, a whimsical tale unfolds.
From epic storylines in miniature to the most mind-bending
aerial circus, London’s daring theatre detox will have something for everyone.
What does the ideal audience look like? “We present diverse work for a diverse
audience and it looks like you!”
Sponsored by the London International Mime Festival.
|What||London International Mime Festival 2016|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
09 Jan 16 – 06 Feb 16, Times vary
|Website||Click here for more information|