When: 10th January – 3rd February 2018
Where: At venues across London
£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the event
What is it?
The London International Mime Festival is a unique event in the theatre calendar, offering a chance to see very best and newest contemporary visual theatre that embraces cutting edge circus, dance, physical theatre, juggling, object manipulation, physical comedy and productions that interweave theatre and film.
The 2018 festival will take place from Wednesday 10th January to Saturday 3rd February, and will feature 11 UK and four London premieres, in 16 productions from Belgium, Finland, France, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Performances will take place at venues including at Barbican, Jacksons Lane, Sadler’s Wells, Shoreditch Town Hall and Soho Theatre.
The festival opens at the Platform Theatre with the UK premiere of Lähtö (Departure) performed by Finland’s Kalle Nio. Combining cutting edge video technology with 19th century stage-magic techniques, Kalle Nio creates mystery, unease and dark humour, with teasing ambiguity reminiscent of 1960s cult movie Blow Up. The twisted, dreamlike soundscape is the work of composer, Samuli Kosminen, well-known for his collaborations with Kronos Quartet.
At The Pit, Barbican, France’s Bêtes de Foire’s Petit théâtre de gestes sees Elsa de Witte and Laurent Cabrol creating their own miniature circus universe.
Surrounded in her workshop by old clothes, mannequins and bric à brac, a seamstress tinkers with assorted fabrics, reassembling materials of all kinds while her antiquated sewing machine provides musical cues for her stage partner’s routines. He, a little down at heel but clearly talented, launches into eccentric dance, juggling precariously with hats, and props that disappear before your eyes.
A supporting cast of mechanical characters including a tightrope walker, acrobats and one-man band, add to the magic and mystique of an itinerant fairground show.
In Mother (Moeder), at the Barbican, Peeping Tom evoke a dreamlike universe, at once disturbing and oddly humorous, to explore the archetypal figure of the mother, in a production of astonishing physicality that defies characterisation.
Taking audiences into a series of recognisable spaces, including a museum, studio and maternity ward, this non-narrative work draws on the memories of the show’s director Gabriela Carrizo and those of her performers to trigger disquieting reflections about motherhood.
Reflecting the unstable atmosphere of a David Lynch film, the soundscape has a cinematic quality, sometimes amplified to disconcerting effect. It is matched by surreal visual imagery and choreography of rare imagination where bodies bend, flip, contort and isolate.
Perhaps you’ve felt lonely. Perhaps you’ve sat at home wondering just when ‘the one’ is going to come along and into your life. Perhaps you’ve even felt lonely enough to don a white dress, hum Mendelssohn’s Wedding March and rehearse the ceremony.
That’s the set-up for Mexico’s Gabriela Muñoz’s show, Perhaps, Perhaps, Quizas at Jacksons Lane theatre; a heart-wrenching yet hilarious piece that plays with ideas of loneliness, hope, jealousy, and the longing for true romance.
In today’s digital age, when everyone is too busy to notice anyone, the chance of real connection seems more than ever elusive. Moving from pathos to sophisticated humour, our protagonist goes through the wedding ritual weekly. Emotionally overwrought in her world of chintz and lace, the act of marriage and lawful companionship excite her. Will she get lucky tonight?
Vamos Theatre is Britain’s leading mask theatre company, admired for its physical storytelling skills, and for tackling challenging subjects with compassion, humour and deep emotional insight.
Afghanistan: 2009. Under bright blue skies, a small girl stands and watches the soldier. She smiles, just like his sister… Ryan is there to see the world, learn a trade, get a life. Training is complete, combat is a buzz; he’s part of a team, and knows his job. But on one particular tour of duty Ryan sees things he can’t talk about, to anyone. And when he returns home, the trouble really begins.
Created from two years of research with former and serving soldiers, families and health professionals, A Brave Face explores Post-Traumatic Stress in the military, an unseen and often unrecognised injury of war. Vamos brings its trademark, wordless, full mask style to a story that needs to be told.
Dutch visual theatre masters Jakop Ahlbom Company return to the festival at Sadler’s Wells, with Lebensraum; brilliant, silent movie magic based on Buster Keaton’s The Scarecrow, with music from Dutch rock band Alamo Race Track.
In Lebensraum, two inventors live together in one small room. Lack of space is no problem; a system of ropes and pulleys brings everything to hand and furniture has multiple functions – the bed is a piano and the bookcase serves as a fridge. But when they create a female robot to take care of domestic chores, their routine lifestyle quickly spirals out of control. The results are both unexpected and hilarious.
Le Récital des Postures is a silent concert for one instrument; the human body. As if following a musical score, choreographer and performer Yasmine Hugonnet from Switzerland, executes a series of postures and movements referenced in historic paintings, ancient sculptures, marionettes and everyday life demanding both intense engagement and complete abandonment.
Her agility and astonishing strength make her seem to float, suspended in a beautiful white space. Awesome and mysterious, her slow-burn performance evokes unspoken sensations and images. It speaks to us through her naked skin with a wayward wit that subverts all expectations.
Over at the Soho Theatre, Trygve Wakenshaw joins forces with fellow New Zealander, Barnie Duncan in an extraordinary celebration of the banal. A sold out hit at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Different Party is physical comedy at its best.
Picture the most mundane place imaginable, descending into a world of absurdist fantasy. Business drones Grareth Krubb and Dennis Chang whittle away the minutes in the barren office of Ruck’s Leather Interiors, patiently waiting for the phone call that may or may not give them something to actually do. In between the drudgery of the nine-to-five, the minutiae of office existence opens up a fantastical world of fancy, where a sticky piece of paper turns men into pigeons, where briefcases are dogs, and where that elusive client is always a missed call away.
This year’s festival line-up will be complemented by workshops and artists’ talks.
More info: mimelondon.com