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Interview – Sean Gandini talks to Culture Whispers
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Interview – Sean Gandini talks to Culture Whispers

Latest Reviews

Charleroi Danses - Kiss & Cry

Charleroi Danses - Kiss & Cry

Charleroi Danses – KISS & CRY at Barbican Theatre 1-4 February

‘When the magician shows you the trick, maybe the trick starts to be more magical’ Donald Hutera talks to Michèle Anne De Mey and Gregory Grosjean about Kiss & Cry:

One of the most wondrous things about this imaginative and uncommonly seductive performance is how multi-layered and multi-levelled it is, and yet so transparent in the meticulously stylised manner in which it touches upon evolution, mythology, romance, destiny versus chance and much more. Indeed, everything about Kiss & Cry is visible from the get-go

 

★★★★★ Stunningly Inventive
With startling simplicity and intricate cleverness, Kiss & Cry conjures up entire worlds of bittersweet emotion…

The onstage action is filmed and beamed onto a giant suspended screen. While the digits dance on miniature sets strewn with doll’s house furniture, sand, model trains and plastic animals, several technicians scurry about manipulating the props, deploying smoke, mirrors, swathes of fabric and hairdryers. What could so easily become a ham-fisted palaver is an uncategorisable gem, a strange and captivating mixture of theatre, dance and film that’s all made manually before our eyes.
Anna Winter The Stage 2 February 2017
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Set by set, scene by scene, love by love: A transporting and joyously original work that tells us nothing new about love, but tells it so, so well.
Ka Bradley Exeunt Magazine 6 February 2017
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Kiss & Cry is simply incredible; it’s arguably the most beautiful, inventive, clever and most heart-breakingly melancholic show I’ve ever seen.
Gerard Davis Dancing Review 2 February 2017
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★★★★ Worlds of wonder – Evening Standard review of Kiss & Cry at LIMF 2014
The pervasiveness of communications technology, the dangers of information overload and the impact these factors have on our lives is hardly a new concern for artists in any field. Yet these pertinent subjects are explored with a playfully fresh and thought-provoking intelligence in this impressive two-hander performed by Olivia Quayle and Jan Patzke, the co-founders of the young UK dance-circus company Joli Vyann, and created with the choreographer Jonathan Lunn. What gives their hour-long touring production a further lift — quite often literally — is the duo’s palpable rapport.
It doesn’t sound so promising, an 80-minute film based only on two hands dancing, but Charleroi Danses manage to create worlds of wonder from that simple concept.
In Kiss & Cry, the story of one woman and the loves and losses of her life is not just played out but created on stage in front of us. On a series of miniature sets, complete with tiny trees and dolls’ house furniture, Michèle Anne de Mey and Gregory Grosjean communicate narrative, tenderness and humour with just their expressive dancing digits. It’s all filmed live and projected on screen, accompanied by a script that’s by turns poetic and comically blunt (sample line: “Some love affairs are like cheese graters: great for cheese, rubbish for anything else”).
The crew conjure smoke, rain, sandstorms and lightning as fingers and thumbs engage in ice skating, dancefloor seduction and quite a lot of sex. Even though we can see the mechanics of what’s happening right in front of us, what’s on screen feels more real. In that way, it’s a piece about filmmaking as much as anything, about the magic of the lens, and especially of light, and our desire to suspend judgment and be transported.

Lyndsey Winship Evening Standard 26 June 2014
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Euripides Laskaridis/Osmosis RELIC at The Pit, Barbican 31 January – 4 February

Read Donald Hutera’s interview with Euripides Laskaridis >

 

★★★ Euripides Laskaridis puts on high heels and a fat suit to explore gender in a striking show at the Barbican as part of London International Mime Festival

Imagine Dame Edna Everage crossed with Leigh Bowery, throw in a dash of Marge from The Simpsons, and then consider this outlandish creature robbing a post office with a stocking over its head. That should give you some sense of the surprise that comes with the first glimpses of the Greek performer Euripides Laskaridis in this spectacle of the ridiculous… What follows in Laskaridis’s solo show is, like so much in this year’s London international mime festival, odd but never uninteresting… It’s a show that borrows from the gaudiness of burlesque but morphs into something sadder and more tarnished. At the end Laskaridis peels away the mask to reveal the human beneath the outlandish costume, and it’s unexpectedly affecting.

Lyn Gardner The Guardian 1 February 2017
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Thomas Monckton – ONLY BONES at Soho Theatre 23 January – 4 February

DAILY TELEGRAPH CRITICAL LIST:
“SQUEEZE YOURSELF INTO THIS HYPNOTIC CREATION FROM THOMAS MONCKTON”

★★★★ There’s brains and wild-eyed charm in this tour de force from the physical theatre comedian Thomas Monckton

The New Zealander Thomas Monckton is a masterfully inventive physical-theatre comedian in this virtually wordless 45-minute solo show. Created with Gemma Tweedie for the company Kallo Collective and presented by the London International Mime Festival, it’s spare but not slight in content and simply but ingeniously staged.

Donald Hutera The Times 25 January 2017
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★★★★  The creativity that has been poured into this piece is beyond measure, it is enchanting, engaging and enthralling.
Edinburgh Guide

★★★★ 45 minutes of body-generated invention that will likely send you back out into the night with a spring in your step.
The List

★★★★★ A glorious salute to one man’s remarkable physicality.
Herald

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Plexus Polaire ASHES Jacksons Lane 27-29 January

★★★★★ Ashes is a production for anyone who likes their theatre black as pitch
The relationship between puppet and puppeteer is one of endless possibility. With Ashes, French-Norwegian ensemble Plexus Polaire prove they’re experts at exploring the form. This might be one of the most epic puppetry pieces ever seen. Three performers are outnumbered by life-size puppets and a host of smaller counterparts. Add to this the interaction of the one human cast member, lots of projection, a deliciously foreboding soundtrack and some special effects, and Ashes is quite the spectacle.

Laura Foulger The Upcoming 29 January 2017
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★★★★ Exceptional puppeteering
It’s a melancholic, mournful portrait of obsession that doesn’t try to explain the destructive acts it depicts. Instead, it’s a sometimes-nightmarish evocation of compulsiveness… consistently haunting.

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Nordic Puppet Ambassadors ONLY ONE SUITCASE ALLOWED Southbank Centre 27-29 January

Both beautiful and heartbreaking
A world within a suitcase – tall town houses, a tram, and little paper-cut people happily going about their business. A mother and daughter holding hands. A group of adults waiting at a stop. Children sitting on the pavement. A man taking a stroll. Everyday life. The female performer manipulating the little people provides an underscore of  small murmurings in French, and a vintage jazz tune plays in the background. The music stops. A pair of giant hands clad in black leather gloves descends on the scene, snatching up the little people carelessly, counting them as they are thrown into a truck. Who knows where they are going.

Dorothy Max Prior Total Theatre 29 January 2017
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 Dewey Dell – MARZO at The Pit, Barbican 24 – 28 January

★★★ Savage and fierce and really rather beautiful

Tim Bano The Stage 25 January 2017
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★★★ A carefully crafted nightmare that Bowie might have loved

Dominic Cavendish Daily Telegraph 27 January 2017
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Stephen Mottram  THE PARACHUTE + WATCH THE BALL at Jacksons Lane 16-18 & 23-25 January

★★★★ Masterful
It is truly remarkable, how such simple props can manipulate our perception, capture it and in the process tell us the story of life from birth to death. Mottram demonstrates how with a stick figure with a wooden head with detachable faces he can tell us a story. Never has our frustration with an instruction book been told with such minimalistic means. Sebastian Castagna’s music pieces accompany both pieces with perfect synchrony and the overall performance is as masterful as it is entertaining. Allow yourselves an hour of sensory manipulation and you will not regret it.

Katerina Yannouli Plays To See 18 January 2017
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Theatre Re  THE NATURE OF FORGETTING at Shoreditch Town Hall 18-20 January

For anyone touched by the dignity-stripping horror of dementia, The Nature of Forgetting is a powerful celebration of a life lived, with a touch of heartbreak. As one would expect from a piece appearing in the London International Mime Festival, it is incredibly disciplined and beautiful in its physicality. And for a minute, I was brought back to that slightly disinfectant-smelling room in a nursing home in 2015, watching a memory, remembering remembering.

Gillian Greer Exeunt 23 January 2017
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Leandre – NOTHING TO SAY at Jacksons Lane 20-22 January

a magical place populated by ghosts, three-legged tables and hundreds, possibly thousands, of yellow socks

The London International Mime Festival is one of the most endearing of festivals. The shows are generally short, inventive and full of pleasant surprises and Leandre’s Nothing to Say is the very epitome of this ethos. Creator and solo performer Leandre Ribera plays a bumbling but ingenious sock-fetishist spending some quality time in the mayhem of his home. It’s a magical place populated by ghosts, three-legged tables and hundreds, possibly thousands, of yellow socks. They’re everywhere, these socks, lurking in drawers, in cupboards and they’re scattered all over the floor. They even get sprayed out into the audience and it’s a pink pair that eventually symbolise his love.

Gerard Davis Dancing Review 21 January 2017
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Joli Vyann – IMBALANCE at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells 16-19 January

★★★★ Palpable rapport
The pervasiveness of communications technology, the dangers of information overload and the impact these factors have on our lives is hardly a new concern for artists in any field. Yet these pertinent subjects are explored with a playfully fresh and thought-provoking intelligence in this impressive two-hander performed by Olivia Quayle and Jan Patzke, the co-founders of the young UK dance-circus company Joli Vyann, and created with the choreographer Jonathan Lunn. What gives their hour-long touring production a further lift — quite often literally — is the duo’s palpable rapport.

Donald Hutera The Times 20 January 2017
Read the whole review >

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Sacékripa – MAREE BASSE at the Barbican 17-21 January

★★★★ Immaculately skilful
The Drunken Bakers have got competition. Each week, Viz Magazine‘s forlorn bread-makers start baking only to burn themselves out with booze. Clown duo Benjamin De Matteïs and Mickaël Le Guen could be their long-lost French cousins. Call them The Sozzled Acrobats.
‘Marée basse‘ translates as low tide, but its meaning is more figurative than that. If low tide marks the moment when the moon’s pull is at its weakest, it’s also the point, each day, when life is at its heaviest. For these two sighing sad sacks, a circus double team that’s swapped the big top for the bottle, it is an entire way of life. They are in the slumpiest of mid-life slumps.
If they’ve a motto in life it might be this: Make Do, Don’t Mend. Or else simply: CBA – Can’t Be Arsed. Their wooden shack is standing, but only just. Everything’s slapdash and askew. Jaunty wooden shelves are strung together at an angle and the electricity meter needs shorting to get the lights on. Nothing’s finished and nothing gets fixed. Half-empty wine bottles are dotted around on every surface. Apparently, even polishing off the last glass takes too much effort….
It’s immaculately skilful, too. Le Guen and De Matteïs make a near-perfect pairing: Laurel and Hardy-shaped and unbelievably in sync… it’s rare to see all the heaviness of human life expressed with such impeccable lightness. Delightful.

Matt Trueman WhatsOnStage 19 January 2017
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★★★ A lovely, low-key show from French company Sacékripa
This is a world where chairs inexplicably turn into traps, and everything is so finely balanced that catastrophe is always imminent. A winsome mutt peers mournfully down from a photograph on the wall as if it cannot believe the stupidity of these humans…
This is a quiet show with a melancholic comic edge, and a neat layer is added by the fact that the clownish Benjamin and Mickael, so past their prime that their red velvet bolero jackets no longer fit, are played by Benjamin De Matteïs and Mickaël Le Guen, two highly skilled circus performers. The pleasure is in watching them explore the characters’ lethal clumsiness so adroitly, as they expose a relationship in which gleeful sabotage, affection, passive aggression and co-dependency are all part of the brew. Benjamin and Mickaël will never get their act together, but De Matteïs and Le Guen know exactly what they are doing.

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian 19 January 2017
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A charming piece combines belly-laughs and melancholia
Comedy double acts generally succeed by mutual incompatibility, and Toulouse mime company Sacékripa work out the formula with charm… A wisp of a storyline emerges: they are variety performers down on their luck (the burly one strains to get back into his red sateen waistcoat), reduced to bickering and daring each other on to silly feats of domestic clowning like balancing beakers of vin rouge on their bald pates… As with most comic duos, and much mime, the belly-laughs are predicated on a deep melancholia.

Suzi Feay, Financial Times 20 January 2017
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Familie Flöz – TEATRO DELUSIO at The Peacock 12-15 January

★★★★★ Theatrical Magic
Berlin based Familie Flöz present a master class of mime, puppetry and ensemble theatre. Set backstage at the grand opera, Teatro Delusio tells the story of three lowly stage hands – archetypes of the theatrical family. One is young and eager, the other idle and frail, while the boss is slow, steady and capable; concerned as much with keeping the show on track despite the people around him, as he is with having his next meal and making sure he gets to watch the football. Over the course of the show we follow our three protagonists as they play out their hopes and fears, their dreams and their fantasies…   It’s a rare treat to see such virtuosic skill in such an accessible, funny and moving performance: Teatro Delusio has definitely been the high point of my Mime Festival so far: a highly recommended slice of theatrical magic.

Alexander Parsonage, Theatre Bubble 17 January 2017
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I have a lot of respect for lighting designers. They don’t get the same level of recognition as directors and playwrights, or even set and costume designers like Lez Brotherston, yet tune into it and you become aware just how much some artfully created lighting can add to a production. Teatro Delusio by German mask-makers extraordinaire Familie Flöz, isn’t interested in lighting designers, but it is interested in the other under-appreciated members of the theatre world: the technicians and stagehands, the faces literally ‘behind the scenes’…. As part of the London International Mime Festival, the production is a great testament to the power of non-verbal communication and the dexterity of performers who specialise in it. As with all the hidden people who create the final theatrical production, when we go beyond the words that often form the surface level part of communication there’s the possibility of discovering the most interesting part of the story.

Rosemary Waugh, Exeunt 17 January 2017
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Compagnie MPTA / Mathurin Bolze BARON PERCHÉS at Platform Theatre, Central Saint Martins 11-14 January

★★★★ This Mesmerising Double Act
And being stuck in a tree is, curiously enough, the subject of Mathurin Bolze’s Barons Perchés. He is back at London’s international mime festival from France – or perhaps one should say he has bounced back, in that he is an extraordinary trampolinist. He delighted audiences in 2005 with his Fenêtres, based on Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees, about an aristocrat who decides to give his heritage the slip and live at the top of the trees on his estate. This is the astonishing sequel, set in what appears to be a threadbare treehouse with swinging lamps, white sheets, a showing of leaves. This time the baron is not alone: he has a friend/shadow/adversary – a possibly imaginary alter ego (Karim Messaoudi). The beauty of the work is in the way that it extends casual routine into dance. This is action as a form of thought. A collage of sound – birdsong, a cello, voices from a clapped-out wireless – accompanies this mesmerising double act. Sometimes the barons seem to be playing a gymnastic version of snakes and ladders. They climb the walls, hurl themselves in the direction of lamps, reach for the light. And after each dramatic, backwards drop on to the trampoline, there is a beauty about the way they recover themselves into stillness.

Kate Kellaway, The Observer 16 January 2017
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★★★★★ Extraordinarily clever and surreal circus show that asks existential questions by challenging gravity
Acrobat and trampolinist Mathurin Bolze returns to the London International Mime Festival with a mind-bending and utterly compelling sequel to his 2005 show Fenetres… Somehow the laws of physics and human heft combine to create visions of awe-inspiring aerial beauty. It’s incredibly intricate, as Bolze and Messaoudi fearlessly backflip and tumble in tandem through barrel rolls and twists. They scale the walls, perch on shelves and land with simian softness on each other’s shoulders. They even put on jackets mid-bounce or slither in and out of windows with metronomic timing. Their interactions are an ambivalent mix of fraternal familiarity and hostility, as the trampoline allows for a benign embrace to transform into a vicious shove or recoil – a circus of human emotion rendered bewitchingly visible.

Anna Winter, The Stage 17 January 2017
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Impressive
With its complex routines, this Mime Festival performance is physically breathtaking.

Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times 17 January 2017
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The flat’s floor is a trampoline and two men – Bolze and Karim Messaoudi – bounce around it… It’s like watching a rebellious reflection or an insubordinate shadow… Every leap lands on target. They spring up into the ceiling or boing into chairs. Each bounce is perfectly weighted, precision-honed with practice. It’s as if this man is at one with his flat. Was it built for him or was he built for it? Either way, they’re in symbiosis: a man and his home, made for one another.

Matt Trueman, WhatsOnStage 12 January 2017
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Truly inspiring. The physical skill of both performers, Mathurin Bolze and Karim Messaoudi, is of the highest quality. Theirs is a delicious dance of bodies exploring every possibility of gravity, levity and resistance, using the trampoline, the set, and of course each other. In one minute they are hurtling on and off the trampoline at breathtaking speed, in another they are walking slowly along at ceiling height on top of the scaffolding, or poised in stillness like lizards on the open front wall, seen in silhouette… An excellent show. A marvellous merging of sound and vision, fantastic physical performance

Dorothy Max Prior Total Theatre 12 January 2017
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Les Antliaclastes HERE LIES SHAKESPEARE at Jacksons Lane 11-15 January

It’s an image I don’t think I’ll ever unsee: a puppet cow shits prolifically onto a merry-go-round of tiny shopping trollies a while a grotesque puppet hybrid of Elizabeth I and some kind of goat-monkey thing dances a jig on its back. It’s part of a scene that takes place around halfway through Les Antliaclastes’s Here Lies Shakespeare, performed at Jackson’s Lane as part of the London International Mime Festival. And, by this point, it’s pretty clear that the makers of this show, led by director, puppeteer and performer Patrick Sims, don’t think much of the Shakespeare industry… The stunning staging plays with perspective and merges performance, puppetry and humour – at times, it’s laugh-out-loud funny – with effortless ease. The technical virtuosity on display often defies comprehension.

Sally Hales, Exeunt 13 January 2017
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Gandini Juggling – SMASHED Special Edition at The Peacock 9-10 January

★★★★ Be dazzled by the skill of this fruity juggling group

This performance is about fun as well as control, writes Bruce Dessau

Towards the end of Smashed one of the performers mock heckles another by yelling “they booked juggling to open a Mime Festival!” It was a lovely in-joke. The London International Mime Festival, celebrating its 40th year, has become famous for programming events that go way beyond the traditionally silent art form of mime.

There is not much dialogue here though. The 21 elegantly attired jugglers, joined by musicians and guest mezzo-soprano Emma Carrington, let their tossing and catching of apples do most of the talking. Through solo pieces and breathtaking complex interaction they wittily explore male/female power structures. But don’t worry too much about subtext, just be dazzled by their dizzying skill.

The UK-based company’s style is as close to dance as it is to circus as they glide around the stage to music ranging from Tammy Wynette to jazz. Apples fly high into the air and seem to defy gravity. Poetry in motion personified, this is avant garde choreographer Pina Bausch meets Hollywood’s Busby Berkeley in your local greengrocer’s shop wearing a smart suit.

If the performance is mainly about control it is also about fun. At the end anarchy ensues as a tea party becomes chaotic and the previously restrained ensemble suddenly makes a mockery of their crockery. Finally the title of Smashed makes sense. This fruity number is in London for one more night – hurry along and have a smashing time too.

Evening Standard 10 January 2017
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★★★★ Alluring, Comical, Anarchic Juggling
Quentin Letts enjoys the ‘twists’ and ‘plot splinterings’ at the first night

The 40th year of the London International Mime Festival – no mean achievement – opened in fine fashion last night with a show of alluring, comical, anarchic juggling. The Gandini Juggling troupe are established favourites and this show is not exactly new but it has been given some new twists and pot splinterings (much crockery dies in the creation of this entertainment). The whole thing proves tremendously good fun and certainly cheered the audience after a day of grotty transport problems in the capital.

 

★★★★ Saucy yet sophisticated show that pays homage to Pina Bausch
Donald Hutera
Filtering the art of juggling through the lens of dance, the British company Gandini Juggling has acquired a reputation for combining physical dexterity and wit to concoct what is usually terrifically diverting entertainment. That’s certainly true of Smashed, the opening salvo of the 40th anniversary edition of the London International Mime Festival.

 

★★★★★ Stunningly Skilful
Anna Winter
Gandini Juggling’s Smashed, inspired by the work of Pina Bausch, involves 22 performers negotiating dozens of apples, chairs and a chintzy tea set with awesome élan. Beyond the dazzling circus spectacle, however, there’s satire – like all the best apples, this has bite.To the nostalgic sounds of jazzy 1940s tunes, the Gandinis begin with deceptive coyness, each casually juggling three apples in tandem and adding embellishments – an extended arm, a higher throw – with perfect timing. Each vignette contains thrilling feats of dexterity and skill. A courting display sees various males in ludicrous peacocking poses, smoothing down eyebrows or thrusting around like Mick Jagger, but the baroque soundtrack is eventually matched by the profound physical harmony of a couple juggling with intricately interlinking arms… Outstanding.

 

 ★★★★ Savagely Comic
Jann Parry
Smashed provided a savagely comic start to the 40th anniversary edition of the London International Mime Festival – mime meaning anything its participants want it to. Sean Gandini, who co-founded the company with Kati Yla-Hokkala in 1992, regularly collaborates with dance choreographers. For Smashed, he and Kati turned to the work of Pina Bausch when they were commissioned to create a short outdoor piece in 2010. Since then, a longer indoor version has been performed over 500 times all over the place (including the Linbury Studio Theatre in 2012)…
The ‘special edition’ of Smashed included an expanded cast (22 performers instead of 9) and two extra numbers contributed by Dominique Mercy, co-director of Tanztheater Wuppertal since Bausch’s death in 2009. The 70-minute show starts and ends with a typically Bauschian parade of formally dressed performers smiling knowingly at the audience as they side-step to cheesy music. Instead of a hand-jive, they juggle apples in perfect unison: Bausch with added balls.The audience laughs at the riotous behaviour as crockery and fruit crash all over the stage. These are the shards of a civilisation being ground underfoot as crowd power takes over, abandoning the expertise of juggling in favour of wanton destruction. Even more disturbing is the final parade, back to unison stepping to a Second World War song, ‘ I Always Wanted to Waltz in Berlin’. Pina Bausch was a child of WWII in Germany, and Gandini’s tribute to her in Smashed is a spine-chilling warning, not nearly as funny as it seemed at the start.

 

Smashed got London’s mime festival off to a fruit-filled flying start
Helen Hawkins
For Smashed: Special Edition, the Gandini Juggling show that kicked off the London International Mime Festival on Monday, you had to check two sets of clichés at the door. First, inevitably, the one about mime being a skinny bloke in whiteface and tights, feeling his way around an invisible box. For the LIMF, mime means performing that uses anything other than a text to “say” something. And second, this isn’t the Indian-club kind of juggling, done by men in glittery flares. The Gandinis are more like performance artists who happen to be good at juggling, especially with apples…
Each time the performers go rogue, then slip back into line, a layer peels off their cool united front, until they descend into a glorious anarchy you so want to join in with. In an ideal world, a producer would give this piece a longer life. (Thanks go to the Arts Council for funding this extended version.) The Gandinis are hugely entertaining and gifted — some of them actors and dancers of a calibre Bausch would smile at, too.

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Attitude interviews Euripides Laskaridis

Tell us a bit about Relic and what audiences can expect to see.

It’s a one-man show that doesn’t conform to any specific genre. It is a performance that aims to renew the audience’s relationship with the grotesque and the bizarre by quietly revealing poetry beneath the ludicrous….

Attitude 19 January 2017
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Corina J Poore interviews Leandre Ribera

Famed for the excellence and innovation that it attracts, The London International Mime festival brings 17 companies specialising in everything from puppetry, physical and circus theatre, live art, mask, movement and object theatre, to five venues across London. Among them is the notable Spanish artist Leandre Ribera, one of Europe’s most successful clown actors, whose show ‘Nothing To Say’ won both the 2014 Barcelona City Circus and Cataluña Circus awards and has delighted audiences across Europe once again as an indoor theatre performance. Latinolife interviews the enchanting clown from Barcelona.

Latinolife 19 January 2017
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Luke Rollason interviews Sammy Dinneen of Silver Lining

Sammy Dinneen performs as a handbalancer among the six-strong company for Throwback – the latest show from circus company Silver Lining, which returns to Jacksons Lane (following a run at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival) for the London International Mime Festival. The show runs from the 1st to the 4th February. Theatre Bubble took the opportunity to quiz one of the rising stars of circus about the form’s future and the inspiration behind the show.

Luke Rollason, Theatre Bubble 17 January 2017
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London International Mime Festival: 40 years old and still contorting

Trampolines, smashed crockery, ghostly goings-on … the annual gala of physical theatre shows no sign of slowing down

The word “mime” in the title – which back in 1977 was an easy way of suggesting non-verbal theatre – may have at times seemed a burden because of its associations with Marcel Marceau rather than Lindsay Kemp, but one of the pleasures of the festival has always been its flagrant disregard for British theatre’s tendency to put art into boxes…

It leaves room for us to interpret what we have seen and experienced, and if there is one thing LIMF has demonstrated over the years, it is that open-endedness is a bonus, not a deficiency. This way, the audience can question and decide what it is they have witnessed, when there are no words to tell them what to think.

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian 14 January 2017
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Britain Needs to Take Physical Theatre Seriously

As the London International Mime Festival begins, Matt Trueman looks at why we don’t give mime the respect it needs.

It is the capital’s oldest performing arts festival – older than LIFT, older than Dance Umbrella. The London International Mime Festival, which opened last night, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. In that time, it has had an enormous impact on British theatre. When Joseph Seelig founded the festival in 1977, just as the London fringe was finding its feet, this sort of work didn’t have a home. “There wasn’t any visual theatre,” he told me last year. “Nor any alternative theatre from overseas.”
That’s not the case today. British theatre is more international and more visual than ever. As Improbable’s Phelim McDermott put it, “If you look back through any new movement in theatre, you can see its beginnings in the mime festival.”
It’s a festival I love and every year, it throws up things I’d never thought possible – giant robot arms chucking human dancers around, plastic bag people blown to life by electric fans, acrobats clinging to a huge swinging stage. Without words, theatre often blossoms into something spectacular and profound. More often than not, however, the best shows come from overseas.

WhatsOnStage 10 January 2017
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r4-today-interview

Helen Lannaghan and Toby Sedgwick interview on Radio 4 Today Programme

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nolarae-chris-evansinterview

Nola Rae interview with Chris Evans on Radio 2

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nikibedi-interviewsjosephseeligseangandini

Joseph Seelig and Sean Gandini interview with Nikki Bedi on Radio London

(programme starts at 2:13:35)

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