When: 9th January – 4th February 2017
Where: At various venues across London
£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the event
What is it?
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the London International Mime Festival is a unique event in the theatre calendar. The festival aims to show the best and newest contemporary visual theatre; embracing cutting edge circus-theatre, mask, physical theatre, object theatre and puppetry.
Over 34 days, 17 companies will give 120 performances of productions that are almost all UK or London premieres, at the Barbican, Southbank Centre, Central Saint Martin’s Platform Theatre, Jacksons Lane, The Peacock, Soho Theatre, and, for the first time, Shoreditch Town Hall.
Artists from Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Finland and New Zealand, will be joining some of Britain’s fast emerging talents, as well as established names.
The 2017 festival opens with Gandini Juggling’s Smashed: Special Edition. Gandini Juggling has reimagined one of its most popular and successful works, Smashed, inspired by the work of seminal dance-theatre maker, Pina Bausch. Now seventeen of the world’s greatest jugglers perform nostalgic, filmic scenes with hundreds of apples and crockery galore, that hint at tense relationships, lost love and the quaintness of afternoon tea.
Familie Flöz, Germany’s mask-theatre virtuosos, return with more award-winning comedy in Teatro Delusio. With their wonderfully expressive masks, three actors play some thirty different characters and bring an entire theatre to life; backstage as well as in the limelight.
Sacekripa from France, perform eye-opening feats of apple-peeling, bottle-opening, knife-throwing and awesome strength in Marée Basse. An expertly crafted drama of one-upmanship in the labour-saving household of two faded variety performers.
The eerie setting for the manga-influenced, comic strip drama Marzo, from Italy’s Dewey Dell, is an impact crater on a distant planet; the scene of ancient hostilities where battle is stylised, almost ritualistic. Agata, Demetrio and Teodora Castellucci, and Eugenio Resta, have worked in collaboration with Japanese director Kuro Tanino and visual artist Yuichi Yokoyama, whose costumed figures come straight from a graphic novel.
Les Antliaclastes has freely drawn on Mark Twain’s Is Shakespeare Dead? to create Here Lies Shakespeare. A five-act comic tragedy, extremely loosely based on themes surrounding the continually raging Shakespeare authorship debate, and featuring a cast of taxidermied animals in Elizabethan attire. The setting is the site of a great archaeological excavation, a suspicious burial and sandbox full of toys. Les Antliaclastes style has been described as somewhere between Catholic mass and an eccentric Muppet Show.
The Parachute and Watch the Ball are two new pieces by Britain’s Stephen Mottram, fusing artistry with neuroscience, demonstrating the magic of puppetry as a story-telling medium. The Parachute plays with the way our brains make sense of things we see, and stealthily reels us into a world of movement and illusion. Watch the Ball sends us scurrying down neural pathways, old and new, in a short exploration of the puppeteer’s tricks.
Leandre Ribera is one of Europe’s most successful clown actors and a star of the international outdoor performance and street festival circuit. In Nothing to Say, Leandre’s house is filled with magic, laughter and enchantment; there are ghosts in the wardrobe, flying socks, telepathic pianos and raining umbrellas.
In 2005, Mathurin Bolze astonished festival audiences with his surreal trampoline drama, Fenêtres, inspired by Italo Calvino’s story, The Baron in the Trees. In the sequel, Barons Perchés, the young Baron’s charmed exile takes a new course with the appearance of a doppelganger; perhaps his brother, his alter ego or maybe just his shadow. Breaking free of all conventions, they create a dream world of lightness and freedom, of friendship without gravity.
The Nature of Forgetting by Theatre Re, is inspired by the work of theatre director Tadeusz Kantor, recent neurobiological research, and interviews with people living with dementia. The Nature of Forgetting is a powerful, haunting and beautiful theatre piece about the inability to recollect a life and what is left when memory is gone.
Thomas Monckton/Kallo Collective perform Only Bones. Monckton’s stage is one metre square. There’s a chair, a lamp and a circle painted on the floor. With its quirky, low-tech aesthetic and using just his bendy, bickering, wiggling hands and seemingly uncontrollable face, Monckton creates an exquisite piece of micro-physical theatre, unlike anything you’ve seen. A hypnotic show about a lot, using very little.
Nordic Puppet Ambassadors are puppeteers Outi Sippola and Linda Lemmetty. Only One Suitcase Allowed is a peep show into a miniature world hidden in a pile of luggage. In the course of a fifteen minute journey to an unknown destination, a safe, familiar environment gradually turns hostile. Inspired by the Anne Frank story, this remarkable fusion of object theatre and live installation is a performance for one spectator at a time.
More info: mimelondon.com