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Interviews & Reviews
2022

aSH_C111-AurelienBory_photo-AglaeBory
Festival
2022
12 Jan - 6 Feb
Delgado Fuchs
5 Short Films
2022
12 Jan - 6 Feb
Gandini Juggling LIFE. Photo © Dolly Brown

Nikki Rummer
TheReviewshub review >


"Part of the London International Mime Festival 2022 staged at The Place, Rummer combines a very personal history and experience with a physicality derived primarily from her gymnastic background to create a unique and sometimes harrowing piece about family heritage and betrayal... a warm and open performer, instantly bringing the audience into her family to create a sustained rapport. The casual start and openness about the shock and experience of discovering her family’s history is affecting and Rummer balances this with the nostalgic romance of describing the various love stories that shaped who she is. Gymnastically too, the strength in Rummer’s arms is extraordinary, able to hold handstands, headstands and tucks for an inordinately long time, all of which are performed with feeling... a combination of narrative, dance and acrobatic expression both challenging and interesting"
***--* Maryam Philpott 6 April 2022

Season Review
Springback Magazine


"LIMF 2022 reopens its many-faced, multi-sensory playground of live communication.. a celebration of storytelling at its most experimental and determined, but this year there’s also a revelatory pleasure in the medium. There are no emails or lockdown soft-launch Twitter leaks here, no communication by miscommunication. Whether juggling the vagaries of political and personal identity, sketching aliens, baking bread or embodying gods, LIMF 2022 is an uplifting reminder that we can dare to say more than anxious commentary on the pandemic.."
Ka Bradley & Sanjoy Roy 21 Feb 2022

The PappyShow
The Guardian
4 star Review >


A FREE-WHEELING EXPLORATION OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY
"The 13-strong cast dive with gusto into the gap between seeing and looking, us and them, and you and me... The cast introduce themselves with affectionate cliches that are rudimentary stereotypes nonetheless: a singsong Italian accent (Debora Minà), kungfu kicks (Jules Chan), bhangra dancing (Simran Hunjun). Later, when we’re softened up, a fashion parade exaggerates and furthermore mismatches the stereotypes: a black woman in a wheelchair rolls up in Breton sailor drag, complete with boating hat, striped jersey and baguette; an east Asian man sports a Rastacap and dreadlock wig; a white woman with a crutch walks on in a black face mask... the ambience is very convivial – we’re all in this together, somehow – and no one, on stage or in the audience, is reduced from a person to a position. We are all more than we seem."
****
Sanjoy Roy 5 Feb 2022

Stereoptik
The Reviews Hub
5 star Review >


A REMARKABLE SHOW...TRULY OUT OF THIS WORLD
"An ingenious piece that combines the story of the universe and the love of one couple with live painting, digital design, puppetry and musical composition... Bermond and Maillet create an incredible sense of movement with just a few strokes of their brush... There is so much joy in the creation and viewing of Stellaire... just watching two artists conjure scenes from a few lines of paint or handfuls of sand is extraordinary in itself. A remarkable show, full of inspiring creative talent and truly out of this world."
*****
Maryam Philpott 2 Feb 2022

Thick & Tight
The Observer
4 star Review >


A LIFE-ENHANCING MANY-PEOPLED SHOW
"Eleanor Perry (Tight) and Daniel Hay-Gordon (Thick) have spent a decade building a unique style, which combines drag, drama, queer culture, lip-syncing, design, mime and high-quality dance. They are extraordinary, and even Perry’s absence from the stage because of Covid couldn’t stop the quality of their working relationship and the power of their imaginations shining through this mixed bill of short pieces...
All are choreographed and directed by them, though some are danced by others. The final piece reveals the duo at their absolute sophisticated best, even though Perry is appearing by video link. Cage & Paige: We Could Go On and On pairs the words and movements of the avant-garde composer John Cage with Elaine Paige, queen of the musical, in ways that are hilarious but also revealing.The entire bill, part of the London international mime festival, is propelled by similar principles. Ode to Edith is a tribute to the eccentric poet Edith Sitwell, performed by members of Corali Dance Company (on stage) and the Camberwell Incredibles (on screen), both groups that work with learning diverse artists. The dance itself, complete with wonderful net wigs and jewelled hands, is relatively simple, but it’s performed with considerable verve, and its point – that society determines who is an outsider and who accepted – is resonant... Each piece is beautifully performed and life-enhancing. Short and very sweet indeed"
****
Sarah Crompton 29 Jan 2022

C111/Shantala Shivalingappa
The Stage
4 star Review >


SHANTALA SHIVALINGAPPA ENCHANTS IN IMPECCABLE FUSION OF HINDU MYTHOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY
"Shiva is the Hindu god of creation and destruction, ruler over grounds ashen from cremation. In Sanskrit texts, it is said he has more than a thousand names. In Aurélien Bory’s new production, he appears to bear the name Shantala Shivalingappa... A silver sheen towers over the stage, yet Shivalingappa, whose small frame stands at its feet, remains unfazed... As support, Loïc Schild’s live percussions add a delightful spark to the repetitive movements – sharp tonal drums tentatively marking the start and end of each gracious form Shivalingappa assumes... aSH is full of brilliant moments of dance and percussion, and at the close, the true magic of the set is revealed in its technological splendour: behind the sheet stands a great tower of square blocks, each holding dozens of white lights that emit percussive sounds. In a choreography of its own, the lights flicker and form patterns like stars in a cosmos. And at its feet as it was in the beginning, Shivalingappa is the creator of this beautiful display and the god in her element."
****
Isaac Ouro-Gnao 28 Jan 2022

C111/Shantala Shivalingappa
Reviews Hub
5 star Review >


"French director and designer Aurélien Bory is famous for his exhilarating shows combining dance, music and the visual arts in spatially innovative ways. At this year’s London International Mime Festival, he presents aSH, a fabulous piece of theatre created for the Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa. It is a visually stunning work. It begins in darkness from which rhythmic drumming begins to grow and fill the space. The staging is deceptively simple. There is only a vast hanging in front of which the dancer stands unmoving. But the hanging begins to ripple as ever-changing patterns of light splash onto it and increasingly insistent rhythms suggest the steady pulse of waves on the sea... Choreographed by Shivalingappa herself, aSH explores aspects of Shiva, the all-power Hindu god of creation and destruction... Throughout the visual richness of Bory’s design and Shivalingappa’s dance is complemented by the haunting sound world created by composer and percussionist Loïc Schild and the automatic rhythms of Joan Cambon. aSH is a piece not to be forgotten."
*****
Jane Darcy 28 Jan 2022

C111/Shantala Shivalingappa
The Guardian
Review >


GODLIKE SERENITY AND TRANSCENDENT MOVEMENT
"The Hindu god Shiva is an inspiration for aSH, and Indian kuchipudi dancer Shantala Shivalingappa has a presence so self-possessedly serene as to qualify as godly. Her stillness goes deep, but even when she’s moving there is hypnotic constancy in her circling limbs. Long arms stretch into precision-cut angles but she doesn’t slash or slice the air, it’s more like the air silently parts to make way for her... A vast sheet of thick metallic paper hangs behind Shivalingappa, the scene coloured a shadowy bronze. The paper begins to ripple and billow, launching forward like a giant beast or wave, threatening to engulf her. Yet it’s entirely possible to believe that Shivalingappa is silently controlling the forces around her...The sheet becomes an instrument, Schild rhythmically rapping his fingers on it; it’s also a cocoon and a canvas, where Shivalingappa draws circles with what’s essentially a giant pastry brush and then scatters ash across the surface, tracing rings in the dust with her feet... aSH is a story of constant transformation and renewal, of destruction and creation, of life’s circularity, and there’s Shivalingappa, without forceful presence or exertion, at the core of all this visual wonder."
****
Lyndsey Winship 28 Jan 2022

BARELY METHODICAL TROUPE
Broadway World
5 Star review >


"Since this is a limited run, put down your phone, tablet or any other device right now. Get on the phone or the internet, and beg, borrow or steal a ticket for one of the few remaining shows of this masterful evening in the theatre.
Broadway and West End producers would be well advised to be the first in line to get tickets. Bucking the trend of over-produced, glittering shells of shows that cost millions to produce and that populate (and often litter) the theatrical landscape, Barely Methodical's director, Ben Duke, together with six brilliantly talented performers, and a crack technical team (Seth Rook Williams, Laura Sprake and Frances Morris) have created magic with almost nothing. A nearly empty stage, a few props and costumes, coupled with an ingenious lighting and sound design, turn the Peacock Theatre into the arena for one of the most breathtaking theatrical events that this reviewer has ever seen."
*****
Mark Janicello 27 Jan 2022

THICK & TIGHT
The Stage
5 Star review >


A MASTERCLASS IN DANCE AND SATIRE
"Co-directed by Daniel Hay-Gordon and Eleanor Perry, Short and Sweet is the sweetest of pick-and-mixes, offering a selection of nine zesty, daring and commanding acts, both captivating and eccentric.
Flicking between dance, mime, drag and satire, each act diligently evokes the legacy and persona of queer and avant-garde icons. As bassist Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, Connor Scott crashes on to the stage in true punk rock fashion...A cohort of Edith Sitwells sway and trot over sound clips of the poet’s humorous anti-establishment interviews. Hay-Gordon and members of the Corali Dance Company are alluring yet capricious in their performance, moving between fluid and sharp disruptive movements. Azara Meghie is another standout as the bold and sultry Grace Jones.... Harry Alexander embodies fellow model Twiggy with charm... Oxana Panchenko is equally impressive as a supple, balletic Grigori Rasputin... The closing duet by the co-directors is even more memorable... Through narration, interviews with two dissimilar people blend into a series of wacky interactions. John Cage, partner of Merce Cunningham, talks philosophy and music theory as musical star Elaine Paige can’t quite stifle laughter over innuendos and double entendres. The pieces combine together to form a true masterclass in dance and satire. "
*****
Isaac Ouro-Gnao 27 Jan 2022

THICK & TIGHT
The Times
4 Star review >


A GREAT NIGHT OF CELEBRITY SEND-UPS
"Eleanor Perry and Daniel Hay-Gordon, aka Thick & Tight, are chameleonic comedians who also dance like a dream...a special genius for imagining unlikely but delicious encounters between cultural icons... Now, for their third presentation by the London International Mime Festival, they have capitalised on their penchant for celebrity send-ups cum tributes by gathering together a small but choice gang of guests for a delightful string of brief, artfully entertaining cabaret-style turns. Split into two acts, this mixed bill is smart, continually surprising and a great, mischievous night out... rich enough in content to weather Perry’s absence on opening night owing to Covid... Perry did make an appearance, on film, for the finale: an inspired conflation of John Cage and Elaine Paige. You would never have guessed that this ingenious 20-minute meditation on time, memory, music, avant-garde versus popular entertainment and laughter hadn’t been devised in this hybrid fashion. Hay-Gordon was especially brilliant here, both high camp and melancholy...
The wiry, magnetic Connor Scott as a sensational Sid Vicious, Azara Meghie radiating sexy pleasure in a homage to Grace Jones, Oxana Panchenko revelling in her hilarious guise as Rasputin... and the strapping Harry Alexander as Twiggy... Ode to Edith, a fun and loving ensemble celebration of the eccentric poet Sitwell featuring Hay-Gordon plus members of the learning-diverse groups Corali (on stage) and the Camberwell Incredibles (on film). It is, too, a perfect example of Thick & Tight’s expansive and embracing queer aesthetic. "
****
Donald Hutera 27 Jan 2022

BARELY METHODICAL TROUPE
Evening Standard
4 Star review >


"What the director Ben Duke (co-founder of the award-winning dance-theatre company Lost Dog) and his cast are serving up here is a juicy slice of existentialist hijinks, peppered with absurdist laughs and a sometimes dazzling kinetic daring. Think Beckett given a drop or two of Monty Python, then generously topped up with seemingly effortless, top-notch circus skills that are set, mostly, to a selectively-deployed retro-pop soundtrack...The basic premise is intriguing: five limber people, each labelled with a random-seeming number, are in a blankly open space being put through some highly testing paces by an unpredictably autocratic woman (Nikki Rummer) stationed at a downstage desk which is equipped with red telephone and a cancellation buzzer...plenty in the performance to satisfy thrill-seekers: acrobatic flips and spins, strong-armed balances and sudden drops, as well as a pretty liberal use of heads as steppingstones. But the corporeal highlight comes early thanks to an astonishingly varied and riveting routine on the Cyr wheel by Fiona Thornhill. She and Rummer are the only female performers in the cast. Interestingly, both exude more power, either individually or in tandem, than their male counterparts."
****
Donald Hutera 27 Jan 2022

STRING THEATRE
Financial Times
4 Star review >


"A gently charming children’s story, deftly delivered using long-string marionettes. The venue, moored in the capital’s Little Venice area, is, as its name promises, a vessel entirely dedicated to puppetry. It’s particularly apt for little ones (The Red Balloon is for three years and over), who clamber up the gangplank and into the diminutive auditorium where ducks float past the portholes. In String Theatre’s show (based on Albert Lamorisse’s beguiling 1956 film of the same name), a small boy befriends a red balloon, which bobs in the air like an enticing lollipop, teasing and comforting its solitary little companion... But the role of the balloon as a beacon of hope, and a child’s dreamy escape from a dull, rule-bound life, still stands. This is a little gem of a show that holds its young audience captivated."
****
Sarah Hemming 16 Jan 2022

COLD
The Reviews Hub
4 Star review >


"While this year’s VAULT Festival was forced to cancel, the other highlight of the winter months returns in full force. The London International Mime Festival has opened and over the next four weeks there are all kinds of physical theatre and circus shows across the capital, all relying on the visual and where spoken words are scarce. There are also digital performances too, and available online for the entire duration of the festival is Cold, a strange and troubling examination of pregnancy and miscarriage... represented spectacularly in their film... Coaché and Turner have created the bleakest of midwinters where spring seems almost an impossibility. Johnny Pilcher’s score complements the film perfectly, and the piano sounds as fragile as the life Falda and Ulf lead"
****
Richard Maguire 13 Jan 2022

STRING THEATRE
The Young Londoner
review >


"A special treat for the whole family aboard the Puppet Theatre Barge in Little Venice. We stepped on to the gangplank, climbed aboard (mind your head as you enter!) and leave the sunny wintry shores of Little Venice behind as you enter into the theatre.... It is poignant, beautiful and brought to life in a charming and unique way – certainly worth a visit. "
JD BROUSSÉ
Financial Times
4 Star review >


"The show by Jean-Daniel Broussé begins with video of the area — producing an audible sigh from the audience — which gradually zooms in on his family’s village bakery. His autobiographical solo, directed by Ursula Martinez, charts his struggles with the expectation that he will take forward the family business, his “running away” to the circus and his emergence as a successful, queer artist. It’s another mime festival delight. JD’s story is often poignant, often painful, but it is sprinkled with mischief and dusted with humour: the title itself plays on the French and English meanings of the word “pain”... As the tantalising smell of baking bread gradually fills the auditorium, JD wrestles with his identity, splicing film of his father contemplating closing the bakery with a restless onstage performance... rolling, leaping and gliding athletically across a floury kitchen trolley and playing a boha (traditional bagpipe) while telling a story in Occitan (the local language). The bread — pummelled, stretched, rising, emerging golden from the oven and finally shared with the audience — becomes a metaphor for his experience. “Could I be both? Baker and performer?” he muses, as he crosses the stage, semi-naked and holding a tray of baguettes. “How would I even do that?” "
****
Sarah Hemming 16 Jan 2022

JD BROUSSÉ
The Observer
4 Star review >


Baker’s son gets a rise in this playful, affecting mime
"Broussé brings a tale of baking and suffering to glorious life in this much-kneeded autobiographical show... Over 55 minutes, Broussé – or JD, as he calls himself – gives a practical demonstration of how to make baguettes while sharing the pain of having to choose between continuing the family business or becoming a performer....Unforced and very funny... The darker side of JD’s experiences, as a queer man in a small town, is suggested in his mischievous comparisons between himself and Jesus – naughty, but nicely done. This comparison is implicit also in the conclusion. JD invites the audience to eat the six loaves baked in his on-stage oven; his sharing of self through performance is also a celebration of our communality. The bread tastes good."
****
Clare Brennan 23 Jan 2022

THEATRE RE
Plays To See
4 Star review >


"A must-see in this year’s Mime Festival. Theatre Re has indeed attracted national and international reputation for creating world class, deeply moving, and visually striking poetic theatre. It was the first time I had the chance to watch their work live – and it certainly won’t be the last...
They perform with tremendous skill, energy and immediacy. There are moments of beautiful high tension, of heightened physicality, moments of shared unity and moments of magic. Their visual and poetic style was striking, while the perfect use of live music (we must acknowledge the work by co-composers Alex Judd and Henry Webster) would not let you lose an instance of the beautiful storytelling. Judd and Webster did not just accompany the rest of the performers, but they almost ‘conducted’ them. There was a perfect synergy between the music and the rest of the storytelling. Truly brilliant!"
****
Emily Louizou 17 Jan 2022

THEATRE RE
Financial Times
3 Star review >


"There’s a certain poignancy to works about loneliness and loss this January. Theatre Re’s Bluebelle is one such, opening in an empty theatre with just a “ghost light” on the stage (the lamp that burns when a theatre is “dark”) and beginning with the gradual emergence of what appears to be a travelling troupe from a bygone century. That strikes a chord, given the experience of the arts world over the past two years. The performers’ story is a mysterious and unsettling piece, drawn from various folk tales and delivered without words... The company (directed by Guillaume Pigé) deliver all this through precise, eloquent body language, accompanied by live music, spinning up an eerie and otherworldly atmosphere. As the story reaches its conclusion, they melt away, as if back into some metaphorical backstage space where the folk tales that thread through our culture are stored."
***
Sarah Hemming 16 Jan 2022

THEATRE RE
Exeunt
review >


"There is something genuinely magical about the company’s new production as part of the London International Mime Festival: it’s got a warm twinkle and touches of wonder... All the parts are multi-roled by four company members, alongside two more performers (Henry Webster and Alex Judd), who provide a live score on the fiddle, flute and keyboard. Their smoothness as an ensemble (directed by Guillaume Pigé), as they catch and swing the props hauled down from above, or twist through each other’s arms and legs, is a pleasure to watch."
Lily Levinson 16 Jan 2022

GANDINI JUGGLING
Fincial Times
5 Star review >


"Life is a jaw-droppingly complex blend of dance and juggling... It’s also playful, spellbinding and often exceedingly beautiful: you don’t need to know anything about modern dance or contemporary circus to be swept away by the skill and grace on show. It begins gently, with Gandini and his company co-founder and director Kati Yla-Hokkala running through a series of juggling moves and drawing links between the patterns of the balls and musical time signatures: three balls give us a waltz; five and we’re into Stockhausen territory. Then in come the company, shifting across the stage in a series of smooth tendus and sharp retirés, eyes fixed on the capricious patterns of the balls they toss into the air. Soon they have drawn us into a world of shape, space and rhythm, where balls, clubs or rings seem to join the dance, matching the intricate footwork, hanging in the air mid-turn or extending the arcs and lines created by the performers... As with so many shows, Life’s journey to the stage has been interrupted by the pandemic. Indeed the whole mime festival marks a return to live, in-person performance, following the migration of the event online last year. There’s a particular pleasure therefore in seeing pieces that celebrate the physical presence of the body (the festival has long since exceeded any narrow definitions of “mime”)."
*****
Sarah Hemming 16 Jan 2022

GANDINI JUGGLING
The Reviews Hub
5 Star review >


When juggler extraordinaire Sean Gandini approached the Merce Cunningham Trust about using the choreographer’s work in his new piece, ex-member of the Merce Cunningham Company, Jennifer Goggans, agreed to a meeting. Goggans thought that she would be teaching Gandini and his company some of Cunningham’s trademark tilts and lilts. Instead, Gandini taught her to juggle, and she now appears with him in a juggling tribute to the legendary choreographer.
Such a set-up may sound absurd, even sacrilegious, but the evening is thoroughly absorbing, and breathtakingly elegant... Juggling is so often seen as lowbrow, but in the Gandinis’ hands – literally their hands – it becomes art, refined and aesthetic. Who would have ever thought that juggling and Merce Cunningham would be a match made in heaven?"
*****
Richard Maguire 14 Jan 2022

GANDINI JUGGLING
The Times
4 Star review >


Gandini Juggling’s charming tribute to Merce Cunningham
"The world premiere of Gandini Juggling’s Life launched this year’s edition of the London International Mime Festival in high style. Lasting an hour, and featuring a casually clad cast of nine plus one live musician (the Pulitzer prizewinning American composer and vocalist Caroline Shaw), the compact performance has been assembled with… unpretentious charm, skill, wit and warmth.
The show commences with a delightfully simple, short and straightforward lecture/demonstration: as Ylä-Hokkala juggles various combinations of a handful of balls, Gandini — a tireless and engaging enthusiast — compares each basic rhythmic pattern to music, from waltz to pop to techno. Life then slips into a shifting series of interactions and encounters between people and balls, rings and juggling pins or clubs. All credit to a cast who appear as adept at movement as they are at manipulating objects."
****
Donald Hutera 13 Jan 2022

GANDINI JUGGLING
The Observer
5 Star review >


As niches go, a work that combines a tribute to the great American choreographer Merce Cunningham with juggling is a particularly narrow one. Yet the odd thing about Life, which launched the London international mime festival last week, is just how universal and all-embracing it feels... Accompanied by Caroline Shaw’s music and Guy Hoare’s sublimely simple lighting, Life has a serene beauty, a geometric poetry, that satisfies the eye and dazzles the mind.
There’s a pure pleasure in the cleverness of all this; the performers are uniformly transfixing, their smiles utterly infectious. It feels like a very good way to start the year. "
*****
Sarah Crompton 16 Jan 2022

GANDINI JUGGLING
Evening Standard
4 Star review >


Gandini Juggling review: opening show of the London Mime Festival blows away preconceptions.
"Like so many of the capital’s arts events, the London International Mime Festival moved online during the pandemic. In 2022 it is very much back in its physical form. And few shows will feel quite as physical as this sold out world premiere of Life – A Love Letter To Merce Cunningham, by multi-disciplinary group Gandini Juggling."
****
Bruce Dessau 13 Jan 2022

Regrets I've Had A Few
Podcast interview >


LIMF directors Helen Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig talk to Paul Hunter, Director of Told by an Idiot.
Stagedoor
Festival preview >


"Every year the London International Mime Festival offers a window on another world, one where puppets philosophise with their bodies on tabletops, performers find the stage tilting precariously beneath their feet, acrobats dazzle and domestic noir is played out by clowns. Over the years every January LIMF has encouraged us to try something different and helped shift our idea of what theatre is by exposing us to sometimes strange and often wonderful if discombobulating performances from Europe and far beyond."
Lyn Gardner 4 Jan 2022

Photo:
KIN
Barely Methodical Troupe
26-29 January 2022 >
The Guardian
Give it up for Gandini, the jaw-dropping jugglers – in pictures >


Formed in 1992, Gandini Juggling return to stages this month with a new production, Life, presented at London International Mime festival. Revisit their past shows, snapped by Tristram Kenton

Photo:
Gandini Juggling
12-15 January 2022 >